E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Speyeria aphrodite Scudder, 1872
Aphrodite Fritillary; Greater Fritillaries
Family: Nymphalidae (Brushfoots)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74004)

Click on map to view a larger version of this map.
Distribution of Speyeria aphrodite in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information

Click on the image(s) below to view an expanded illustration for this taxon.

Illustration Source: Butterflies of British Columbia by Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard © Royal BC Museum


Adults of the Aphrodite Fritillary have a unique characteristic on the ventral hindwing that separates them from all other Speyeria, including the one it is confused with most easily, S. hesperis. Between vein M3 and CuA1, the postmedian black spot is always surrounded by at least a faint black circle or halo.

Immature Stages

The mature larva is black. The body is covered with protuberances that bear spines. There are no mid-dorsal narrow yellow stripes.


The Cariboo populations are the Columbia Fritillary, S.a. columbia (Hy. Edwards, 1877) (TL: lac la Hache, BC). The East Kootenay populations are Whitehouse's Fritillary, S.a. whitehousei (Gunder, 1932) (TL: Jaffray, BC). The Peace populations are the Manitoba Fritillary, S.a. manitoba (F. & R. Chermock, 1940) (TL: Sand Ridge, MB).

Genus Description

The genus Speyeria is named for the German lepidopterist Adolph Speyer (1812-92). The name "greater fritillaries" refers to the large size of the species in this genus, in contrast to the lesser fritillaries in the genera Boloria and Clossiana.

At least some populations of all species of Speyeria in BC have individuals with silver spots on the ventral hindwing. By contrast, only one species of Clossiana has these silver spots. The genus is entirely Nearctic, with 14 recognized species, 8 of which are found in BC. Two other species, S. coronis (Behr, 1864) and S. egleis (Behr, 1862) occur immediately south of the BC border in Washington or Montana, and might eventually be recorded in the province. Dos Passos and Grey (1947) produced the definitive treatment of the genus. In this genus, and all genera in the subfamily except Boloria and Clossiana, the aedeagus is open at the proximal end. Dos Passos and Grey (1947) reduced the number of recognized species from more than 100 species to 13 species, and reduced the other species names to either subspecies or synonyms. The dos Passos and Grey paper, Gunder (1929b), Davenport (1941), and Nabokov (1949) set the standard for our modern species concepts for North American butterflies. P.A. Hammond (pers. comm.) has provided the information on the biology and appearance of the larvae.


Adults of the Manitoba Fritillary fly from mid-July to mid-August. The Columbia Fritillary flies from late June to early September. Whitehouse's Fritillary flies from mid-July to mid-September. Eggs are laid at the base of the foodplant, Viola sp. They hatch and the first instar larvae overwinter. Larvae begin feeding the following spring, as soon as the foodplant has leafed out.


The Aphrodite Fritillary occurs in BC as three disjunct sets of populations in the Cariboo, the East Kootenay, and the Peace. The Cariboo and Peace populations are associated with mesic meadows in aspen woodland habitat. The East Kootenay populations occur at the bottom of the Rocky Mountain Trench in very xeric habitat, and are impacted by both grazing and suburban development. Ad ults of the Cariboo and East Kootenay populations are commonly found nectaring at thistles (Cirsium) but the Peace populations have not been seen nectaring.



The Aphrodite Fritillary is found from BC east to NS. In the west it occurs south to AZ and NM.ln the east, it occurs south to the northeastern USA and south in the Appalachians to northern GA.

Status Information

Scientific NameOrigin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
Speyeria aphroditeNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Speyeria aphrodite columbiaNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Speyeria aphrodite manitobaNativeS3BlueNot Listed
Speyeria aphrodite whitehouseiNativeS2S3BlueNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-07-13 8:42:42 PM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.

© E-Fauna BC: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC