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Great Spangled Fritillaries Flying, Feeding & Mating

8-10-16  gs fritillary 036

There are five species of fritillaries in New England: the Great Spangled, Aphrodite, Atlantis, Silver-bordered and Meadow.  The largest and most common is the Great Spangled Fritillary.

The adults are in flight now, feeding on the nectar of a variety of flowers, including Joe-Pye Weed (pictured), mints and milkweed.  In general they prefer long, tubular flowers.  Males patrol open areas for females.  After mating, female Great Spangled Fritillaries enter a resting state called diapause, which they emerge from in late summer.  At this time they lay their eggs near patches of violets (larval host plant) and die. The caterpillars hatch in the fall and overwinter as larvae, becoming active in the spring at the same time as violet plants begin to grow.  Feeding takes place at night, and is limited to violet leaves. Hopefully global warming will not upset the synchronization of these two events.

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6 responses

  1. Cindy

    Great to see your up and running again! Missed you!
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts that add so much to my day!

    August 16, 2016 at 7:52 am

  2. Shelly Johnson

    Oh No! I had not thought of global warming hurting butterflies! Let’s hope these beauties will adapt and survive. I enjoy your blog so much. Keep ’em coming!

    August 16, 2016 at 9:28 am

  3. Janet Kruse

    Sent from my iPad


    August 16, 2016 at 1:39 pm

  4. Trully beautiful photo Mary.

    August 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

  5. I have LOTS of violets, so I see lots of fritillaries. 🙂

    August 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm

  6. Janice Wilhelm

    Sent from my iPhone Janice


    August 18, 2016 at 11:44 am

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