Appearance: Above, both wings orange with prominent black margins containing orange spots with black caps. Underside green or gray-green with narrow buff submarginal band and metallic silver markings. Below, submarginal spot row on both wings and inwardly the larger postmedian spot band.
Size: Large; 2 1/2 to 3 3/8 inches
Habitat: Short-grass prairie, foothills and canyons, mountain meadows, open pine forests where the host plant, violets, are found
Season: Early June to early September
Larval Foodplant: Violets including Viola nuttallii
Did You Know…
Males patrol in open areas for females. Females then lay eggs on litter near violets. First-stage caterpillars overwinter; in the spring the larvae eat host plant leaves and complete their life cycle. Fritillaries are variable and can be difficult to identify in the field. The bottom side often provides the best clues to their identity. This species is one of the least variable across its entire range.
Species Gallery (click to enlarge)