Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Brown, Big, and Bold.

This is the best way to describe the Great-Spangled, a frequent visitor to my garden and one of the first butterflies I encountered upon moving to MD over fifteen years ago.

The shots below were taken in a neighbor's yard in June. Early June through late July is the best time for them; on one July 4 outing, we saw over 125 in a single locale.

The Fritillaries were formerly viewed as close relatives of Crescents and Checkerspots, but more recent studies showed them to be related to the Longwings, Heliconidae. As a result, the latter family was merged into Nymphalidae and a new subfamily was formed: the Heliconiiae, of which the Fritillaries are a member.

A note on pronunciation: I grew up saying "FruhtILLery", which as it turns out is a British rendering. Americans in the know say "FrIHtulary." Watevah.

Species description
Click for shots

Frederick CO, 2006.06.18

Frederick CO, 2006.06.18

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