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Boloria bellona Reuss, 1920
Lesser Fritillaries; Meadow Fritillary
Family: Nymphalidae (Brushfoots)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia.
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC


© Norbert Kondla     (Photo ID #5478)


Click on map to view a larger version of this map.
Distribution of Boloria bellona in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)
Source: Butterflies of British Columbia by Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard © Royal BC Museum

Species Information


The Meadow Fritillary is very easily distinguished by the fact that the tip or apex of the forewing is squared off, not rounded as in all other lesser fritillaries.

Immature Stages

Scudder (1889a) first described the immatures in detail. They are like those of the Silver-bordered Fritillary, but have some purple coloration not found on the latter.


Jenista's Meadow Fritillary, C.b. jenistorum [justified emendation] Stallings & Turner, 1947; TL: Rivercourse, AB (Kondla, 1996), is the prairie subspecies occurring in northeastern BC. The central BC populations are similar to the eastern boreal Canadian subspecies C.b. toddi (Holland, 1928) (TL: St. Margarets R., PQ).

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.


The Meadow Fritillary flies from late May to late August in two broods, with peak flight in mid-June and early August in the south. In the Peace there appears to be only one generation per year. There is no evidence of a third generation. The species overwinters as early instar larvae. It has been recorded feeding on various violets (Scudder 1889a). In BC it is always associated with Viola canadensis (JHS).


The Meadow Fritillary is essentially a species occurring in eastern temperate habitat. In BC it occurs as two disjunct sets of populations, one in northeastern BC and the other through the western Cariboo and the Okanagan Highlands. In both areas it is found in open meadows adjacent to aspen woodlands and in open, mature aspen woodlands.



The Meadow Fritillary occurs from eastern BC east to Labrador and NS. In the west, the Cariboo/Okanagan Highlands form occurs in a few isolated populations in eastern WA, northeastern OR, and northern ID, and then in disjunct populations in WY and CO. In the east it is common south to latitude 38°N, often in old-growth meadows.

Status Information

Scientific NameOrigin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
Boloria bellonaNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Boloria bellona jenistaeNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Boloria bellona toddiNativeS5YellowNot Listed

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Clossiana bellona

General References