One of the largest of the greater fritillaries group (Genera Speyeria and Euptoieta), Aphrodite is one of 25 fritillaries (Subfamily Argynninae) found in Canada, nine of which are found in Ontario. Luckily for eastern amateur Lepidopterists only three species of this difficult-to-differentiate group regularly occur east of Manitoba. Three subspecies distinguished by size and brightness of color occur in Ontario; winni, aphrodite, and alcestis.|
Identification: Upperside is bright orange with mottled black patterning. Black dot at the base of the upper forewings. Forewing upperside margin is not solid black. The hindwing's underside is reddish-orange, with metallic white/silver spots. The red coloration bleeds into a narrow pale band near the wing's edge. A large butterfly, wingspan: 51-73 mm.
Life History: Eggs laid singly, often in litter near the food plant. Hibernates as a young larva before feeding begins. Larvae are brown with orange on the sides and black stripes. Larvae feed exclusively at night and spend the day away from the food plant. Adults often fly together with the Great Spangled Fritillary (S. cybele), which has a very similar range.
Habitat and Range: Fields, meadows, wood margins, clearings. It is uncommon in the Ottawa District. In Ontario it is widespread throughout the province as far north as Moosonee. In Canada it is found from Central British Columbia to Cape Breton Island and is generally common.
Host Plants: Violets (Viola spp.)
Flight Period: Late June to late August for Ontario and the Ottawa District
Similar Species: In Ontario only two; the Great Spangled Fritillary (S. cybele) and the Atlantis Fritillary (S. atlantis). S. cybele has a clear thick yellowish band near the margin of the underwing's bottom and lacks the black dot at the base of the upper forewings. The Atlantic Fritillary can be distinguished by the brown color of the hindwing's underside and the solid black margin on the top wings.