Variegated Fritillary Butterfly

Euptoieta claudia

The Variegated Fritillary Butterfly is common throughout the South.

A butterfly species that is common in both North and South America. Even though the Variegated Fritillary has some very different characteristics from the Speyeria Fritillaries, it is still closely related to them.

Variegated have have 2–3 broods per year vs. one per year in Speyeria Fritillary.

They are nomadic and they use a wide range of host plants vs. just violets. And because of their use of passionflowers as a host plant, these Fritillaries also have taxonomic links to the heliconians.

Their flight is low and swift, but even when resting or nectaring, this species is extremely difficult to approach, and, because of this, its genus name was taken from the Greek word euptoietos meaning "easily scared".

This species extends its range into most northern states during the summer.

This Tawny colored Fritillary is generally on the wing from early spring to late fall and sometimes longer in the Deep South.

Variegated Fritillary Butterfly

This butterfly cannot survive the northern winters, however and thus the emigrants die off every winter.


Members of this species are mostly dark orange above, with numerous black lines throughout.

From wing tip to wing tip it measures 1 and 3/4 to 2 and 1/2 inches.

The only similar species is the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia). The Mexican Fritillary is brighter orange, the upper side of its hind wing basal area is unmarked, and the underside of its wings is plainer, with no submarginal spots or median black lines.


The Variegated Fritillary frequents a variety of open areas, from fields, roadsides, gardens and parks.


This butterfly is a fast flier, usually along a low plane.

Male Fritillaries patrol areas in search of females.

This species may be seen flying from April–October in the south, while in the north it flies from summer to early fall.

Larvae and Hosts:

Variegated Fritillary Larvae

A wide range of host plants including violets (Viola), passion vine (Passiflora), and stonecrops (Sedum), are selected as hosts.

Larvae are mostly orange, with black stripes and numerous black spines running down the body.

Nectar Plants:

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), clover (Trifolium) shepherd's needle (Bidens), other milkweeds and a host of others.

The Variegated Fritillary also enjoys a wet spot for a good drink.

Variegated Fritillary and other Common butterflies

More Information on Butterflies

A Butterfly Friendly Yard

Create Your Own Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly Nectar and Host Plants

Butterflies, Birds, Gardens and More.

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