Euptoieta claudia
Variegated Fritillary

Family Description:

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is entirely striped lengthwise with red bands and broken white lines. The red band along the top of the back is marked with white dashes. The body has black spines of uniform length, while the head has two longer black spines. It can reach a maximum length of 1 inches.
Adult: The butterfly is large, with a wingspan of 1 to 3 inches. The forewing may appear elongated. It is brownish orange on the upperside, marked with black wavy lines near the wing bases. The forewing has a row of black spots along the outer portion, followed by two black lines along the edge. The hindwing is marked similarly. Underneath, the forewing is orange near the base and mottled brown and white towards the outer edge; the hindwing is mottled brown and white, with white veins.

This species is a resident of parts of South and Central America, Mexico, and the southern U.S., from southern Arizona east to the Carolinas. It migrates throughout all of the U.S., except the Pacific Northwest, into the southern portion of Canada. In Idaho, it has been documented in three widely separated counties: Boundary, Oneida, and Caribou.

It frequents open areas, such as fields, meadows, and grasslands.


Caterpillar: The caterpillar feeds on the leaves and flowers of a variety of plants from different families. Common host species include violets and pansies (Viola spp.), flax (Linum spp.), and passion flower (Passiflora spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

There are three generations of caterpillars each growing season in the northern part of its range, and four or more in the south. Adults overwinter in the south and fly north in the spring and summer months.

Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on the leaves and stems of host plants.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.  Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.