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The Regal Fritillary is an ‘indicator species’ of one of the most fragile and threatened landscapes in the country, undisturbed tall-grass prairie. Today, only a tiny fraction of tall-grass prairie remains that once covered vast areas of east-central North America.

Speyeria idalia (Drury) Regal Fritillary - female
Speyeria idalia (Drury) Regal Fritillary - male

The Regal Fritillary Speyeria idalia - female. This species is closely associated with prairie habitat where its larval food plants (Viola spp.) are found. Adults nector on wildflower blooms, particularly those of Butterfly Weed, Common Milkweed and Pale-Purple Coneflower.

Painting by William H. Howe, 1986

Regal Fritillary - male. The Regal Fritillary belongs to family Nymphalidae known as the "brush-footed" butterflies. This is the largest family of butterflies in the world and are so named for the forelegs which are useless for walking and, particularly in males, are covered with dense tufts of scales which appear brush-like.

Painting by William H. Howe, 2004

Regal Fritillaries, Eastern Black Swallowtail and Little Yellow

Painting by William H. Howe, 2003

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