Coronis Fritillary (Speyeria coronis) (Behr, 1864)

Diagnosis: This large fritillary is orange-brown on the upperside with relatively heavy black markings. The underside is paler than most large fritillaries, with the disc of the hindwing yellow-brown or greenish, but the base of the forewing underside is bright orange. The submarginal row of silver spots on the hindwing underside are low and rounded, rather than triangular as in most large fritillaries.

Subspecies: There are at least six described subspecies, but only two occur close to Canada. Subspecies snyderi is found just south of the Alberta border, and once north of it. Subspecies semiramis flies in Washington state, very close to the British Columbia border.

Range: Coronis is found throughout the Great Basin and mountain states in the US, and on the coast from southern California to Washington. It comes very close to the Canadian border in Washington and Montana. It has been taken once in Canada, in southern Alberta.

Similar Species: The Coronis Fritillary is very similar to the Zerene Fritillary, with the low, rounded submarginal silver spots on the hindwing and the orange forewing base on the underside. It is slightly larger than zerene and the colour of the underside disc is a lighter, more yellowish or greenish brown. In zerene, the submarginal spots have very marked orange-brown caps; in coronis, these caps are pale, greenish in colour. [compare images]

Early Stages: Like all Speyeria, the Coronis Fritillary lays its eggs on or near violets (Viola spp.), the only larval foodplant. The larvae are mottled brown and black, with black spines (Scott, 1986).

Abundance: This is quite a common species in most of its range, but it becomes rarer in the north; very rare in Canada.

Flight Season: Coronis flies from early June to mid-September. It is most commonly seen, especially males, in the first month of its season.

Habits: It should be looked for in late summer, along the US border from southwestern Saskatchewan to the interior of British Columbia, probably in shrubby areas along streams where violets would have occurred in the spring.

Remarks: The only Canadian specimen(s) were taken by Norbert Kondla.

© 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.