Great Spangled Fritillary

Speyeria cybele

The Great Spangled Fritillary is found throughout the state from late June through August and into early September. The species is long-lived and many individuals that are found in late August and September are very worn with frayed and even missing parts and wings. They are often seen at nectar sources such as Common Milkweed, thistles, or Joe-Pye-Weed alongside the Aphrodite Fritillary in the southern part of the state, and in the northern counties with the Atlantis Fritillary.

Weekly sightings for Great Spangled Fritillary

Identifying characteristics

Above, this species is orange with a variety of black markings, but is noticeably darker near the body, especially in fresh individuals. Below, this species is easily identified by the wide, light band on the hind wing.

Similar species

From below, this species is unlike any other species in Wisconsin. From above it may easily be confused with both the Aphrodite and Atlantis Fritillaries. The Atlantis appears much darker than the other Fritillaries because it has darkened wing veins on the front wing and nearly solid, black wing margins. The Aphrodite Fritillary is usually lighter than the Great Spangled, with an extra black mark near the base, often resembling a checkmark. This is somewhat hard to discern in some individuals, especially worn ones, and is reliable only if clearly observed.

Habitat

Open fields and woodland edges. Can be found in both wet and dry habitats.

Flight

One brood. Has been observed from mid-June until late September. In 2004, a very worn individual was observed on September 26.

Abundance

Common throughout Wisconsin. This species is undoubtedly found in all counties.

Recent Great Spangled Fritillary Sightings

Date County Reported by
Aug 27, 2014 Jackson Fern Springs
Aug 27, 2014 Rock Mike Reese
Aug 27, 2014 Dunn Pam Campbell
Aug 26, 2014 Washington Darleen Horman
Aug 26, 2014 Manitowoc Mike Reese, Bob Bergen

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Great Spangled Fritillary
Map key
Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Pentenwell Dam area, Juneau Co., WI, August 17, 2005.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Muir Lake SNA, Marquette Co., WI, July 13, 2003.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Poygan Marsh, Waushara Co., WI, July 3, 2005.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Rocky Run Oak Savanna SNA, Columbia Co., WI, July 18, 2005.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Rocky Run Oak Savanna SNA, Columbia Co., WI, July 18, 2005.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Bohn Lake area, Waushara Co., WI, July 5, 2005.

Great Spangled FritillaryClick to enlarge

Perching next to a female dun skipper

2 miles NE of Goodman, off Shrine Rd., Marinette Co., WI. July 24, 2004.