Euptoieta hegesia
Mexican Fritillary

Family Description:

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is red to maroon, marked along the back with two lines of black-rimmed, white spots, and a line of silver spots down the middle. The side is marked with a black and silver line. There are six rows of black spines on the body, and the head has two long black "horns."
Adult: The butterfly is medium-sized to large, with a wingspan of 2 to 3 inches. The upperside of the forewing is bright orange, marked with wavy black lines near the base, while the hindwing is solid orange and without markings near the base. The outer edge of the fore- and hindwing is lined with two black lines and a row of black spots. Underneath is orangish brown, with more orange at the base of the forewing, and marked similarly to the upperside but fainter.

This species is a resident of parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and some Pacific islands. It migrates into the U.S., primarily into the southern portions of California, Arizona, and Texas. It has been documented in Idaho, in Blaine County; this was probably a rare occurrence.

It can typically be found in open areas, such as fields and open woodlands.


Caterpillar: The caterpillar feeds on passion flower (Passiflora foetida), turnera (Turnera ulmifolia), and morning glories (Ipomoea maritima).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

There are many generations of caterpillars each year. Adults in the U.S. generally fly from April through Novemeber. Butterflies exhibit a fast and jerky flight near the ground.

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

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

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.