Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mormon Fritillary

One of the joys of our organization is getting to play "Stump the Master Naturalist" with friends.  The odds are with them usually, but today was a rare exception.  I am posting this to show the power of some of our online resources.

An old friend and amateur nature photographer, Joe Motto, sent me this picture with the message, "Shot this image in British Columbia. Can you ID him for me?"  Since most butterflies can't fly across the continental divide, I knew it wasn't going to be anything I had ever seen. 

His picture looked somewhat similar to the Great Spangled Fritillary,  Speyeria cybele, but that is an eastern species.  With my half-vast knowledge of lepidoptera (and a high-speed internet connection) I identified this western species as what I think is a Mormon Fritillary, Speyeria mormonia

Great Spangled Fritillary
Knowing that it was so close to our fritillaries in appearance and form, I went to  Using their "Regional Checklist" feature on the top banner, you can find all the listed species for "Canada-British Columbia".   Selecting the genus Speyeria brought up the picture to the right.

Mormon Fritillary - BoMoNA

It isn't usually this easy, but it does serve to illustrate that there are a lot of tools available to us amateur naturalists, even of those of us who lack Joe's gift for photography.

You can see some of his remarkable pictures at  We had the pleasure of traveling to Africa and Borneo with Joe and his wife, Joy, and I can attest to the saying, "It takes a village to carry all his camera equipment." 

1 comment:

  1. Bob,
    I hope you're taking the time to post YOUR lepidopteran sightings to the BAMONA website.