The variegated fritillary is not a true fritillary, despite superficially resembling members of that group. This butterfly is something like a paler version of the gulf fritillary, with a "smeared" look to the underside, and no metallic silver markings. While it is related to the true fritillaries, the variegated fritillary exhibits some distinc differences:
Variegated fritillaries have two or three broods per year vs. one per year in Speyeria
They are nomadic vs. sedentary
They use a wide range of host plants vs. just violets.
Variegated fritillaries also have taxonomic links to the heliconians.
Their flight is low and swift, rather than high and gliding
Another characteristic of this species is the fact that they are very hard to approach; accordingly, its genus name was taken from the Greek word euptoietos, meaning "easily scared".
The beautiful spiny caterpillar becomes an even more beautiful pupa, marked with cream, orange, and metallic silver spines. The caterpillar's food plants include moonseed, flax, passionflower, plantain, pansy, and violets.
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