Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele

One of the Greater Frits. In the same genus with the Diana. Much more common. Also uses violets for its foodplant. And certainly our most widespread big Frit. The Variegated is in the Lesser Frit group and is not as shocking orange. Different flight as well. Like the Diana, this butterfly is a sucker for thistle flower and, in a good thistle patch in summer, every plant can have one of these hanging from it.

Shots showing the very different exterior from the Diana.  And the thistle-frisking habit.

Second favorite nectar flower, the Purple Coneflower. There were hundreds in Searcy county this day. Likely the male is the smaller orangier guy on the bottom here.

Coneflower working its magic again in Pope county. Facial detail and those interesting eyes.

In the west, Frits are crazy diverse and variable. Only photos can sometimes let you diagnose the frit. And location helps. These were in the Colorado Rockies. And this is one of the more widespread western Frits. This is the Mormon Fritillary, Speyeria mormonia. These were everywhere. And as usual, they cannot resist a nice pile of dried up dung.