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great spangled fritillary

great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Features and Behaviors

The wingspan of this species is about three to four inches. The outer half of the upperside of the wings has a series of light and dark spots and other marks. The inner half of the upperside of the wings is dark. The underside of the hindwing has a light tan band between two rows of spots.

The great spangled fritillary is a butterfly of open areas. The adult feeds on flower nectar. The larva eats only violets. The female places an egg on or near violet plants in late summer. It hatches to the larval form and becomes dormant in leaf litter. In spring it will return to its active state and find violet leaves to eat. The adult is active from mid-April through October. There is one generation per year.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Illinois Status: common, native