Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Zerene Fritillary

Zerene Fritillary

Speyeria zerene bremneri

Photo by Laura Matthias

Range: The Zerene Fritillary is highly variable species with many varieties.  The species as a whole is found from southern BC and Alberta south to California and New Mexico. The local subspecies (subspecies bremneri) is found only in south-western BC and western Washington, having been extirpated from western Oregon.  The current range in BC is unclear.  Some experts believe it is confined to southern Salt Spring Island.  Others believe that unusual fritillaries found on northern Vancouver Island may also be subspecies bremneri.  Either way, it has disappeared from all of southern Vancouver Island.

Wingspan: 5.5 – 6 cm

Habitat: meadows

Hostplant: violets


Adults fly from late June to early September.  They nectar on whatever flowers are available in their dry habitats, including Bull and Canada Thistle, Yarrow, and Yampah.  Eggs are scattered in dry vegetation, wherever the females can detect the scent of violet leaves.  Upon hatching, the larvae become dormant without feeding.  In spring, larvae locate violet plants.  They feed on violet leaves during the night and hide on the ground during the day.  They pupate in early summer and emerge as adults a few weeks later.

Threats: Succession of native meadows and open woodlands to Douglas-fir forest.