Speyeria atlantis (Edwards, 1862)
NatureServe Global Rank: G5
Virginia State Rank: S2
VA DGIF Tier: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The dorsal of both wings of the Atlantis Fritillary is orange in color, often with a tan or brown tint. The outside edges of both wings have thin white and brown checkered borders with a thicker dark, solid band immediately inside. There is an array of darker brown or black markings covering much of the dorsal surface. The ventral surface of the front wing is orange with black and silver markings. The ventral hind wing is mainly brown with many silver spots. There is a crescent-shaped tan-colored patch near the outside edge of the wing that is bordered on the outside by the outermost line of silver spots, and in the inside by the brown basal color and a line of black spots.
Similar species: The Atlantis fritillary is similar to other Fritillary species but most often confused with the Aphrodite Fritillary (S.aphrodite). The Atlantis fritillary is smaller than the other species, which is the first indication. The other Fritillary species do not have the dark border at the edge of the wing except for the female Aphrodite fritillary (Although this dark border becomes more diffuse farther from the apex of the wing). When confused between female Aphrodite and Atlantis fritillaries, the ventral hind wing serves as a good differentiator. The tan crescent-shaped patch is larger in the Atlantis and displays more contrast (especially when viewing the line of black spots) than can be seen in the Aphrodite fritillary. Often this tan patch is either greatly reduced or even absent in female Aphrodite fritillaries.
North American Range: The Atlantis Fritillary can be found from Maine down to New York State. There are isolated populations occurring in West Virginia, Ohio River Valley, and Virginia.
VA Observations by Locality: Highland | Augusta | Grayson | Highland | Rappahannock | Highland | Shenandoah
Flight season and broods: There is a single brood of Atlantis Fritillary from mid June through mid September.
Habitat and Food Plants: The Atlantis Fritillary prefers open habitat types including open meadows, bogs, roadside woods, and woodland openings. They use Violets (Viola) as the host plant.
Behavior and Ecology: The females spread a large number of eggs over ground near host plant in mid August. The caterpillars that emerge are able to overwinter and feed on violet plants in the spring. The adults nectar on mints, milkweed (Aesclepias), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Burdock (Arctium), Ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) and other larger flower types. They are fairly easy to approach while taking nectar and when disturbed will fly around erratically often returning to the same patch of flowers.
Population trend and potential threats: Atlantis Fritillaries are considered globally secure with healthy numbers throughout its range. However, concerns over smaller populations south of New York may mean management practices should be implemented in the future.
Management practices: There are no official management practices prescribed for this species. The small populations present in Western Virginia and Virginia should be monitored to follow population trends.
References: Allen, T. J. 1997. The Butterflies of West Virginia and their Caterpillars. University of Pittsburg Press. 388pp.
Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 165. Princeton University Press.
Glassberg, J. 2000. Eyeing the Greater Fritillaries. American Butterflies, (11). Pgs. 14-17.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1999. Eastern Butterflies. Pg. 154. Houghton Miffilin Publishing.
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Friday, 26 February 2021, 03:21:56 PM