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Boloria freija Reuss, 1920
Freija Fritillary; Lesser Fritillaries
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 #4947)


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Distribution of Boloria freija 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 Freija Fritillary is easily distinguished by the central white spot in the median row of spots on the ventral hindwings. This spot is large and triangular, with the distal point of the triangle almost touching the more distal irregular white line. The only other species so marked is C. natazhati.

Immature Stages



BC populations are the nominate subspecies, C.f. freija (Thunberg, 1791) (TL: Vestrobothnia and Lapland).

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 Freija Fritillary is the earliest of the four boreal forest Clossiana species to fly, with stray males seen as early as late April. At high elevations in the north, stray females can be seen as late as early August. The peak flight period of most populations is late May to early June, and all but worn females are gone before C. frigga begins to fly. In the Palearctic the larvae are known to feed on various Ericaceae (the heath family). In North America the only confirmed foodplant is Vaccinium caespitosum (Shepard 1975).


The Freija Fritillary is found throughout BC east of the Cascade and Coast mountains in mountainous and boreal habitat. It is found in the same habitat as the Frigga and Bog fritillaries, but also in more xeric habitat and pine forests.



The Freija Fritillary is found from AK across all of CAN except the west coast rainforests, the southern prairie, and the far northern Canadian archipelago. It is also found in disjunct populations in the southern Rocky Mountains of the USA. The species is Holarctic, occurring in Scandinavia and across Russia to eastern Siberia, except in southwestern European Russia.

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.

General References