Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Great spangled fritillary

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The great spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele ) is a well known butterfly mainly because of its large size, abundance, and widespread range. It is found in northern and central United States and southern Canada. I t is only missing from northern Canada and some of the southern states.

One part of its scientific name (cybele) means “mountain mother” or “earth mother”. The common name comes from a Latin word, fritillus, which means chessboard or dice box.  Another name for these handsome butterflies is silverspots because of the metallic markings on their wing’s undersides. It is possible that this pattern, similar to a leopard’s spots, serves as camouflage when they are resting in places of dappled sun and shade spots.

Like many other butterflies, the great spangled fritillary caterpillars are very picky about what they eat. They do not go for milkweeds as do monarchs; they prefer violets instead. Without violets, there would be no fritillaries. The adults, on the other hand are thirsty for nectar of many different flowers.

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