Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Aphrodite Fritillary
Speyeria aphrodite  FABRICIUS, 1787
subfamily - HELICONIINAE
subtribe -
Speyeria aphrodite male, Massachusetts, USA Frank Model
There are 16 species in the genus Speyeria, all of which are found in the USA. Only 2 species have ranges that extend beyond the USA - hydaspe which reaches Canada, and nokomis which reaches central Mexico.
All Speyeria species are large and noble butterflies. Males of most taxa have bright golden-orange uppersides marked with black spots, and dark streaks of androconial scales along the veins of the forewings, although these are barely discernible in aphrodite. In females the ground colour is more subdued, typically pale buff coloured with a slight greenish tinge. In both sexes the underside fore-wings are similar to the uppersides. On the underside, the hindwings of most species are adorned with numerous large silver spangles.
Speyeria aphrodite occurs across the central and eastern states of the USA. There are 9 named subspecies.
Speyeria aphrodite breeds in well drained open coniferous or deciduous woodland habitats and surrounding meadows and tall prairies.
The egg is laid singly on dry stems or among leaf litter in the vicinity of the larval foodplants. The caterpillar hatches in late summer and immediately enters hibernation. It awakens in early spring and feeds on tender young leaves of Viola ( Violaceae ). The fully grown larva is black with yellow dorsal and lateral spikes, each tipped with black. The pupa is blackish, and is suspended by the cremaster from a woody stem or twig in the shade of a bush or tree.
Adult behaviour
Both sexes nectar at a wide range of flowers, but favour Cirsium and Carduus.


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