Appearance''For a key to the terms used see Lepidopteran glossary''.
The upper side of the wings is checkered with orange and black. Both the fore wing and hind wing have a row of submarginal black spots and black median lines running across the wings. The underside of the fore wing is orange with a pale orange spot rimmed in black in the fore wing cell. The underside of the hind wing is mottled with browns and grays with a pale postmedian band. There is no silvering. The wingspan measures 1.75–2.25 inches.
NamingIn the Variegated Fritillary’s range, the only similar species is the Mexican Fritillary . The Mexican Fritillary is brighter orange, the upper side of its hind wing basal area is unmarked, and the underside of its wings is plainer, with no submarginal spots or median black lines.
BehaviorMales actively patrol for females. Females lay their pale green or cream colored eggs singly on host plant leaves and stems. The larva eats the leaves, flowers, and stems of the food plant. The larva is red with black subdorsal and spiracular stripes infused with white spotting. In many individuals, the white is more conspicuous than the black. The red middorsal stripe bears white oval shaped spots, one per segment. It has six rows of black spines and has a pair of long, clubbed spines on the head. The chrysalis is mainly shiny white, with small black spots, a variable amount of brown markings, and orange and gold tubercules. Adults overwinter in the south and fly north each spring and summer. It has 2–3 broods per year.
HabitatThis butterfly is often found in open, disturbed habitats such as clover and alfalfa fields, pastures, fields, waste areas, roadsides, and mountain meadows.
Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.