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.
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).
The name aphrodite refers to the Greek goddess of love and is derived from the fable of her having sprung from the sea foam, Aphros (Reed 1870). Subspecies manitoba is named for the province of Manitoba, and subspecies columbia is named for British Columbia. Subspecies whitehousei is named after Frank C. Whitehouse, of dragonfly fame, who was living in Cranbrook at the time he provided Gunder with the type material for the subspecies. Kirby (1837) first used the common name "Aphrodite Argynnis," which Harris (1862) modified to "Aphrodite butterfly" (Scudder 1889b), and Holland (1898) changed it to the modern form.
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.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2012. 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:
6/19/2013 5:59:15 PM]
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