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Greater Fritillaries


There is a group of butterflies known as greater fritillaries, or silverspots (their underwings often have multiple silver spots). Three species of greater fritillaries can be found in the Northeast: Great Spangled, Atlantis and Aphrodite. All three are similar in appearance, with differences so subtle that the butterfly in a Naturally Curious post last month was mis-identified as a Great Spangled Fritillary, when it was actually an Atlantis Fritillary. Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader, Sue Elliott, this was brought to my attention. If you can approach a fritillary close enough to see the color of its eye, identification is a snap! Great Spangled Fritillaries have amber-colored eyes, Atlantis Fritillaries have blue-gray eyes, and Aprhrodite Fritillaries have yellow-green eyes. Can you identify the two species of fritillaries that are pictured? (Upper right, on thistle – Great Spangled Fritillary; main photo, on Joe-Pye Weed – Atlantis Fritillary)

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4 responses

  1. Atlantis?

    September 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

  2. Yes, I’m thinking too, this is an Atlantis based on your eye color descriptions. So fun to know this! Just checked a photo I took of a butterfly earlier this summer (with my new camera that has a great zoom) and wow, I think it actually is a Great Spangled Fritillary with amber eyes…. Thanks Mary!

    September 21, 2016 at 10:31 am

  3. Sandy DeRosa

    Great post! Now I know there are 3 Fritillaries here. Awesome!

    September 21, 2016 at 11:22 am

  4. Good clues!

    September 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm

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