Diana Fritillary Speyeria diana

All photos on this frame set are of the Diana Frit. Sexes somewhat segregated. I take shots of every one that cooperates and add it to the collection. This animal seemed to deserve its own spot. It is one of the rarities of the Ozarks, Ouachitas and Appalachians and a striking butterfly in both sexes. It is like getting two species in one. Though certainly not the rarest butterfly in Arkansas in summer, the females are difficult to find unless you know the particular spots in the state where they reside. In late summer, if you have a local thistle stand, it is a good place to look. The orange milkweed in the Ouachitas, as you can see above, is also a good spot.

This butterfly is vanishing from its previous habitats. It now resides essentially in the western, central and northwestern portions of Arkansas and in the southern Appalachians. It is dependent on woodland habitat that is out of the floodplain and rich with the violets that serve as its foodplant. The female, unlike most butterflies, does not lay her eggs directly on the leaves of the violet. She scatters them on the ground and the leaves nearby. The caterpillar overwinters. The males fly first in May and June and then the females pop out in late June and fly until September.