Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Zerene Fritillary
Speyeria zerene (Boisduval, 1852)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Identification: Upper surface of both wings tawny to red-brown with dark markings. Underside of hindwing has silvered or unsilvered marginal spots more triangular than those of Speyeria coronis.
Wing Span: 2 1/8 - 2 3/4 inches (5.4 - 7 cm).
Life History: Males patrol all day seeking females. Females may delay egg-laying until late summer. Eggs are laid on leaf litter near violets; unfed first-stage caterpillars overwinter on a silken mat. In the spring, caterpillars feed on leaves of violets.
Flight: One brood from mid-June to early September.
Caterpillar Hosts: Violets including Viola adunca, V. lobata, V. cuneata, V. nuttallii, and V. purpurea.
Adult Food:
Habitat: accelerated by increased recreational use and development of the coast. Speyeria zerene hippolyta is listed as T1 by The Nature Conservancy: Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. (Critically endangered throughout its range). The Myrtle's silverspot (subspecies myrtleae) and Behren's silverspot (subspecies behrensii) are listed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Range: Coastal British Columbia south and east to Montana, south to central California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Conservation: The Oregon silverspot (subspecies hippolyta) is historically known from 17 locations along the Pacific Coast from southern Washington to central Oregon, but is now found in only 4 sites in Oregon.
Management Needs: Establish Critical Habitat areas where encroaching development and plants can be managed to preserve meadows where the caterpillar host plant (Viola adunca) grows.
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