Beringian Fritillary (Boloria natazhati) (Gibson, 1920)

Diagnosis: This large (wingspan: 32 to 44 mm) lesser fritillary, only recently recognized as a separate species, is very similar to the Freija Fritillary (B. freija), with the same general pattern above and below, but it is larger and much darker, and the hindwing underside has an orange-green cast to it. Specimens often appear greasy because of the shiny silky hairs on the wings.

Subspecies: This species was considered a subspecies of the Freija Fritillary for many years but is now known to be distinct (Troubridge and Wood, 1990). The darkest specimens, from the St. Elias and Richardson Mountains, Yukon, are nominate natazhati. Paler populations from northern British Columbia are subspecies nabokovi. The palest, most contrastingly marked populations from Victoria Island and the adjacent mainland represent an undescribed subspecies.

Range: Boloria natazhati appears to have a small fractured range in northwestern Canada. It has been found in Yukon in the St. Elias Mountains, in the Richardson Mountains, and on Montana Mountain south of Whitehorse. It flies at Coppermine and Bernard Harbour, Nunavut, and on Victoria Island. There is also a population near Summit Lake in northern British Columbia.

Specimen collection data

Description of this image follows
Beringian Fritillary (Boloria natazhati).
Holman, Victoria Island, NWT.
J.T. Troubridge

Similar Species: The Beringian Fritillary is much larger and darker than the Freija Fritillary and has an ochre, not reddish, hindwing underside. [compare images]

Early Stages: These have not been recorded.

Abundance: It is extremely localized, but can be found in considerable numbers where it occurs.

Flight Season: There is one flight from mid-June into July.

Habits: Unlike the Freija Fritillary, which occurs in boggy tundra, the Beringian Fritillary flies over dry rocky areas on hilltops, hillsides, and rock slides.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.