Flittering, Fluttering, Flying

Great Spangled Fritillary
By William T. Hathaway

The Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) is one of the most common butterflies seen fluttering around open woods and fields of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. From May to September this species can be seen visiting thistles and orange milkweeds. Occasionally, these fritillaries cling to the flowers in large insect groups, and the individuals vie for the best nectaring stance.

Because of its large size, this species is easy for beginning collectors to mount for their butterfly display; smaller butterflies are often missing in many collections for this reason.

This photo was taken in September 1973 near the community of Ajax.

(Also see this photograph in larger format, and further information about the Great Spangled Fritillary.)