Frigga Fritillary (Boloria frigga) (Thunberg, 1791)

Diagnosis: This species is similar to other lesser fritillaries above, but has considerable dark scaling towards the base of the wings. The hindwing underside is dark brown towards the base and violet-grey along the margin. Between these two areas is a golden coloured band. There is also a white patch along the forward edge of the hindwing underside, as in the Meadow Fritillary (B. bellona), the Pacific Fritillary (B. epithore), and the Dingy Fritillary (B. improba). Wingspan: 32 to 41 mm.

Subspecies: Two subspecies occur in Canada. Subspecies gibsoni occurs in tundra areas from Alaska to Baffin Island and saga occurs in the Boreal Zone across Canada from Labrador to Alaska.

Range: This circumpolar species is widespread but local from Labrador to northern British Columbia and north to northern Baffin Island. It is absent from the Maritimes, southern Quebec, southern Ontario, and the Prairies.


Specimen collection data


Similar Species: The dark wing base on the upperside, the light colours of the outer half of the hindwing underside, and the rounded rather than squared-off forewing apex distinguish this species from the other lesser fritillaries. It is most likely to be confused with the Meadow Fritillary (B. bellona) in the east and with the Pacific Fritillary (B. epithore) in the west. [compare images]

Description of this image follows.
Frigga Fritillary (Boloria frigga saga).
Churchill, Man. J.T. Troubridge

Early Stages: The larva is black with a purple line running along each side. The spines are black. It is recorded in Alberta as feeding on willows (Salix spp.); in Alaska females have been observed ovipositing on Arctic Avens (Dryas integrifolia).

Abundance: In tundra areas this can be a common butterfly, but it becomes uncommon and local in bogs in the southern part of its range.

Flight Season: Adults fly in June and July.

Habits: This butterfly is seen in wet shrubby areas on the tundra, and in willow swamps and sphagnum bogs in the boreal forest.

Remarks: The larger, more yellow tundra form (subspecies gibsoni) and taiga form (subspecies saga) create a comparable situation to the tundra and taiga forms of Boloria chariclea. As in that species, some researchers believe that the two forms of frigga are distinct species, but more research is needed to clarify their status.

© 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.