Appearance: Above, bands of yellow and creamy orange with dark brown basal areas, median band often paler. Distinctive below with reddish orange color and creamy or pale yellow (not white) basal spots, median band and marginal crescents. Females variable, from orange with black markings to mostly black with creamy bands.
Size: Medium; 1 3/8 to 2 inches
Habitat: Openings in aspen woodlands, meadows, streamsides, and clearings
Season: June to mid-August
Larval Foodplant: Rabbitbrush and other asters
Did You Know…
Males perch in valleys or patrol near host plants for females. Eggs are laid in groups on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed together when young, sometimes in a slight silk web. Partially-grown caterpillars overwinter. This is a butterfly with highly variable markings showing regional and gender differences. The pattern on the underside of the hindwing is usually sufficient to separate it from similar species.
Species Gallery (click to enlarge)