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

Boloria astarte astarte Reuss, 1920
Boeber's Fritillary; Lesser 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
Photo of species

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5145)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Boloria astarte astarte in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information


Boeber's Fritillary and the two BC subspecies are easily identified by referring to the photographs of the adults.

Immature Stages



Most populations in BC are the subspecies C. tritonia astarte (Doubleday, [1847]); TL: near Rock Lake, AB (Shepard 1984). Near Atlin, the subspecies C.t. distincta (Gibson, 1920) (TL: Harrington Cr., YT) is found. This second subspecies is found from east of Fairbanks through central and southern YT to Atlin, BC.

Genus Description

Reuss (1922) stated that he named the genus Clossiana for the recognized entomologist Herr Adolf G. Closs, but it appears that Closs was only a minor worker on Lepidoptera. The common name "lesser fritillaries" refers to the small size compared with Speyeria.

Under the restricted generic usage of Boloria, we state why we recognize the genus Clossiana and define the genus. On the upperside, the wings are very similar to those of Speyeria. Some males of one species of Speyeria, S. mormonia, are as small as the largest females of our largest Clossiana, C. tritonia. Only one species, Clossiana selene, has silver spots on the ventral hindwing. This genus is Holarctic, with at least 21 species; 13 are found in North America and 12 of these occur in BC. Nine BC species are Holarctic. The 4 temperate species, 3 in BC, feed on violets (Viola) but the northern species do not. There has been much confusion in the literature regarding larval foodplants, and we discuss only those verified by Shepard (1975) and later.


Boeber's Fritillaries fly from early July to early August. In the Coast Ranges of BC, the species flies only in even-numbered years (Phair 1919), like the Washington populations. In the Rockies it has been recorded in both even- and odd-numbered years, but there are not enough observations of anyone population to determine whether individual populations fly every year. Shepard (1975) has reared Boeber's Fritillary on Saxifraga bronchialis in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and this plant species has also been recorded for the butterfly in Siberia. This Saxifraga occurs throughout the range of the nominate subspecies. C.t. distincta is associated with Saxifraga tricuspidata (JHS), a close relative of S. bronchialis in the large genus Saxifraga. Larvae reared in the lab have two obligate diapause states, as early and mature larvae (JHS). Thus, even if the species is found at some localities every year, those localities must contain two temporally isolated populations.


Boeber's Fritillary occurs above timberline on scree and rock cliffs. It is found in northern BC except for the northeastern boreal spruce forest area, and in southern BC in all alpine areas except Vancouver Island.



Boeber's Fritillary is found throughout eastern Siberia, northern and central AK, YT, BC, and the Rocky Mountains of AB. South of BC and AB it is known only from Okanogan Co., WA, and Glacier National Park, MT. Recent authors have tried to separate the subspecies into species, but have not been able to show any consistent morphological differences and no sympatric populations. Shepard and Dubutolov (Novosibirsk) have exchanged drawings of the male genitalia of all subspecies in this complex. They have concluded that there are no significant differences between any of the Siberian and North American taxa in this complex, and that they should be regarded as one species. Since the name tritonia has been in constant use, at least in Russia, it is the correct species name according to InternationaI Code of ZoologicaI Nomenclature rules.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. 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: 2024-07-17 9:33:45 PM]
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