Boloria selene
Silver-bordered Fritillary

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Silver Meadow Fritillary.
Note: This species is referred to with the genus name Clossiana by some authors.

Caterpillar: The caterpillar can be brownish or bluish-black, with black dots and patches, and may possibly appear mottled. It has a black head, an orangish line along the side, and yellowish spines tipped with black hairs. The spines towards the front are much longer than the rest. It can reach a maximum length of approximately one-half inch.
Adult: The butterfly is medium sized, with a wingspan of 1 3/8 to 2 inches. The upperside is bright orange and marked with black zigzags on the inner half of the wings. The outer portion of the wings is lined with a row of black dots, followed by a row of black triangles; the outermost edge is lined in black as well. Underneath, the forewing is yellowish orange and marked with black and brown. The hindwing has two rows of silver spots with a row of small black dots in between, and a scattering of silver patches near the base.

The species is holarctic, which means it can be found in the northern temperate regions of the entire Northern Hemisphere. In North America, it ranges from central Alaska southeast across Canada to Newfoundland, and from the eastern half of Washington, south along the Rockies and east across the northern half of the U.S. In Idaho, it occurs primarily in the center of the state, but may also be found in much of the north and in patches of the southeast.

This species prefers wet to moist areas, including bogs, marshes, and wet meadows.


Caterpillar: The caterpillars eat the leaves of various species of violets (Viola spp.).
Adult: The butterflies use flower nectar for food, often frequenting flowers in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) such as goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and verbena (Verbena spp.) in the verbena family (Verbenaceae).

There can be one to three generations of caterpillars each summer, depending on the climate. The harsh environments of high elevations and the arctic allow for only one generation in a given year. Young caterpillars overwinter in a physiological state called diapause, and emerge in the spring to feed, molt, and eventually pupate. Adults generally fly from late May through mid-September.

Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on randomly selected plants, often near but rarely on violets.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.  Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.