New Jersey Butterflies

Variegated Fritillary

Euptoieta claudia

Identification: Medium—2.1" (just slightly larger than American Lady). Above: FW and HW with bands of yellowish to orange, blackish-bordered blocks. Submarginal orangey blocks each contain a black dot. FW with black-ringed pale spot near center of leading edge. Below: Mottled yellow, orange, and gray, with no silvery spots.

NJ Status and Distribution: Nonresident. A southern and western species whose population in NJ exhibits considerable annual fluctuation. Much more common from Monmouth and Burlington counties south, and usually uncommon to rare from Middlesex and Mercer north (but see Comments below).

NJ Range Map-Variegated Fritillary

Habitat: Open, sunny areas (often disturbed or rather barren) with wildflowers. Can be attracted to sunny gardens with nectar plants such as Purple Coneflower, milkweeds, asters, and Butterfly Bush; and the host plant.

Flight Period: May into October but most common from mid-summer to early fall. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/29—11/15; South Jersey 4/10—12/27.

Larval Food Plants: In NJ, Violets and Pansies (Viola). In frost-free areas, Passionflowers (Passiflora) and possibly other species.

Overwintering Stage: Adult, but does not overwinter in NJ.

Best Locations: Higbee Beach WMA, Assunpink WMA.

Comments: This species has become more common in recent years and now is no longer considered to be a species to shout about even way up in Warren and Sussex counties. This northward range extension may be yet another example of the effects of our warming climate.

Variegated Fritillary

AZ, 9/4/12.

Variegated Fritillary

Fredon Twp., Sussex Co., NJ, 7/5/11, on Oxeye.

Variegated Fritillary larva

Late instar larva of Variegated Fritillary.

Variegated Fritillary chrysalis

Chrysalis of Variegated Fritillary.