Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

Diagnosis: A medium-sized lesser fritillary (wingspan: 35 to 51 mm), this butterfly is orange and black above with little black dusting at the base of the wings. The underside is distinct with bright, metallic silver spots on an orange-brown base.

Subspecies: The darkest subspecies is terraenovae, which occurs in Newfoundland. The rest of Canada is inhabited by the widespread subspecies atrocostalis.

Range: The Silver-bordered Fritillary is a holarctic species. It is also one of the most southerly of the lesser fritillaries, occurring southward into the U.S. to Virginia and New Mexico. In Canada, it is found from Newfoundland to British Columbia, from the U.S. border to the northern limits of the boreal forest, and beyond, north to Nain, Labrador, Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo), Quebec, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories, and Laforce Lake, Yukon. It is absent from the British Columbia coast and extreme southwestern Ontario (Essex and Kent Counties).


Specimen collection data


Similar Species: Most similar to Boloria eunomia. [compare images]

Early Stages: Like the greater fritillaries, the larvae of this species feed on violets. They are variable, greenish to brownish black, and mottled with yellow. The spines are yellow except the front two, which are black.

Abundance: This can be a very common butterfly in eastern Canada in wet meadows, but it becomes scarcer in the west and north where it is more localized.

Flight Season: In southern Ontario and southern British Columbia, it flies in two broods from late May to September. Farther north it emerges later and is single-brooded.

Habits: The Silver-bordered Fritillary is usually found in wet areas, such as meadows and bogmargins, often near woodlands. This is one of the fastest flying of the lesser fritillaries, but it regularly visits flowers, such as asters and daisies.

© 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.