Posts Tagged ‘variegated fritillary’

Variegated Fritillary Update

I was out last night, weeding in the moon garden. We’re over 8 inches behind in rain fall so far this year. Then take into consideration that we have good ole’ clay soil; it does make for a challenging year gardening. I was using a spade to turn the soil over where the weeds and grasses had resprouted since last time I weeded. I’m trying to get areas ready so I can plant.

While working along the stone edging of the garden, I flipped over a young violet plant to find a partially-grown, red, black and white caterpillar. My first thought was “variegated fritillary.” Next thought was maybe a “great spangled fritillary.” I moved the caterpillar on a nearby violet out of the weeding area.

My Caterpillars of Eastern North America book confirmed that variegated fritillary was right. It also listed 8 fritillary species that lay their eggs on violets.

The caterpillar looked to be half grown. The book said they grow to 2 inches long. The length of the one I found was about an inch or so.

Variegated fritillary

This morning I was wishing I had a way to rear the caterpillar to adult. The caterpillar book showed the chrysalis to be shiny gold and silver, with small black dots. I went out and looked. No caterpillar. There were a lot more violets around than I’d originally noticed. Now I’m afraid to walk around in that area. There’s a chance, though, that I might be able to find the chrysalis later.

When the adult emerges, if it’s a female, she will continue emigrating northward, laying eggs as she goes … if it’s a male, I assume it might head north too.