Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Regal Fritillary
Speyeria idalia  DRURY, 1773
subfamily - HELICONIINAE
subtribe -
Speyeria idalia male, Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, 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. In females the ground colour is more subdued, typically pale buff coloured with a slight greenish tinge. In both sexes the underside forewings are similar to the uppersides. The underside hindwings of most species are adorned with numerous large silver spangles.
Speyeria idalia occurs across the central and eastern states of the USA.
This species breeds on damp grasslands and prairies where the larval foodplant Viola is abundant.
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 various Viola sp including pedatifida, papilionacea, pedata and lanceolata. The fully grown larva is black marked with yellowish or straw-coloured bands, and a broad dorsal stripe running the length of the body. It is adorned with pale yellows pikes, each of which bear tiny black setae. The pupa is pale buff, with black spots on the abdomen and wing pads. It is suspended by the cremaster from a stem or grass blade.
Adult behaviour
Both sexes nectar at a wide range of plants, but favour Cirsium, Carduus and Scabiosa flowers.


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