Fritillary Butterflies and Violas

Bridging the Knowledge Gap:

I was weeding and deadheading a few days ago, and was surprised to find my viola/pansy crop consisted of mostly bare stalks. Odd. When I looked closer, I could see that the few remaining leaves were well chewed.

I didn’t give the sorry state of the Viola family much more thought.

Yesterday I was patrolling the yard with my camera, looking for birds, blooms and bugs. I ‘caught’ the House Wren feeding it’s young, a blue dragonfly, various flowers and seeds, and a spotted orange butterfly.

Alberta, Canada

The Butterfly was a new find for me, (or so I thought). I looked it up on the Internet, and decided it was a Fritillary Butterfly.

Determining which Fritillary (Atlantis, Callippe, Edward’s, Great Spangled, Meadow or Mormon) was too fine a distinction for my ID skills! The important piece of information, though, is that the Fritillary Caterpillar eats members of the Violet family. That probably explains the decimation of my Viola and Pansy plants.

Alberta, Canada I also learned that the top and bottom of butterfly wings will have different patterns. The underside (bottom) of the Fritillary Butterfly wing is what I had photographed and been looking for on the internet.

The top of the wings is a bit different. I went to my photo files of Butterflies, and realized that I had already photographed a Fritillary Butterfly, but had only seen the top of it’s wings.

My two butterfly ‘finds’ were actually members of the same family. Another Knowledge Gap bridged!

The interesting thing is, in normal circumstances, I would not have photographed the chewed up Violas.Their role in the life cycle of the Fritillary Butterfly would have been lost to me. A small, but important piece of information bridged that gap, and that made all the difference.

The Flutter Files
Species: Argynninae
Name: Greater Fritillary Butterfly
Date Seen: July 7, 2017 and August 8, 2016
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta

What big connections have you made when you found a small, but important ‘bridge’ piece of information?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Bridge.