Great Spangled Fritillaries

From mid-June through mid-September Great Spangled Fritillaries are the most common Fritillary in the eastern United States. Here are two in Marcy Cunkelman's garden.

The word fritillary fascinated me. What does it mean and why does it name a whole group of butterflies?

It comes from the Latin for dice-box.

The butterfly is named Fritillary because it has a brown spotty pattern reminiscent of dice.

A family of lilies is named Fritillaria because they are brownish with a checkered, spotty pattern. Here's Fritillaria meleagris:

They're both dice-y.  😉

(photo of Great Spangled Fritillaries by Marcy Cunkelman. photo of Fritillaria meleagris from Wikimedia Commons)

2 thoughts on “Great Spangled Fritillaries

  1. How timely. I saw one of these today on a Purple Coneflower that I just planted yesterday, and didn’t know what it was. Was going to look it up, but didn’t have to, just needed to tune into your blog!

    Here is a video: http://youtu.be/KJlm0cPEgwE

    Enjoy. Next time I’ll turn the phone around.

  2. Like Stephen, I also was not familiar with this butterfly that was hanging out on my butterfly bush! Thanks, as always, for providing us with such useful information.

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