Fritillaries: Astarte fritillary (Boloria astarte)
(Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Heliconiidae)
Profile prepared by Sarah Foltz Jordan, Sarina Jepsen, and Julia Janicki, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
The Astarte Fritillary is the largest species of the lesser fritillaries. The upperside of the wings are orange with a distinct pattern of black marks and pronounced black margins. Though its distribution ranges from far eastern Russia to Alaska to British Columbia to northern Washington and Montana, it is very uncommon in its range. The habitat of this species is arctic-alpine rock slides, windswept ridges, and scree slopes, usually south-facing and above the tree-line, at elevations of at least 2133 m. Global climate change poses a serious threat to this species; necessary actions include conducting further surveys and protecting all known and potential sites.
Immature: Like other members in this genus, the larvae of this species have barbed spines on each segment (Christensen 1981). The pupae resemble those of the greater fritillaries (Speyeria genus) but are smaller (Christensen 1981). The eggs and pupae are difficult to find and to identify.
Washington: Washington records are from Whatcom, Chelan, and Okanogan counties. Most Washington sightings of this species are at the auto-accessible Slate Peak (Pyle 2009, pers. comm.).
Federal Land: On federal land, this species is documented within the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.
Inventory: This species is thought to have a wider range than is currently documented, including unsurveyed habitat in the North Cascades (Pyle 2009, pers. comm.). Further surveys at known and potential sites are needed in order to evaluate the range, population characteristics, and conservation needs of this species. The current status of this species in Washington is not well known, as known sites have not been revisited for 16 to over 50 years and abundance estimates have not been conducted. Management: Protect all known and potential sites from practices that would adversely affect any aspect of this butterfly’s life-cycle. Avoid insecticide/herbicide use in or near known sites and manage grazing to reduce impacts to Saxifraga bronchialis, the larval food plant.
Christensen, J.R. 1981. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest. The University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 116 pp.
Field, C.B., Mortsch, L.D., Brklacich, M., Forbes, D.L., Kovacs, P., Patz, J.A., Running, S.W. and Scott, M.J. 2007. Chapter 14: North America. In: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Parry, M.L., Canziani, O.F., Palutikof, J.P., van der Linden, P.J. and Hanson, C.E., eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Available at: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter14.pdf (Accessed 20 July 2010).
Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia. UBC Press, Vancouver, British Columbia. 414 pp.
Miller, J.C. and P.C. Hammond 2007. Butterflies and moths of Pacific Northwest forests and woodlands. Forest Health Technology Team. 234 pp.
NatureServe. 2009. “Boloria astarte.” NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Version 7.1. (2 February 2009). Data last updated: February 2009. Available at: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer (Accessed 1 Sept. 2010).
Neill, W. 2001. The guide to butterflies of Oregon and Washington. Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, Colorado. 160 pp.
Opler, P.A., Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. Available at: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org (Accessed 1 Sept. 2010).
Opler, P. A. and A. B. Wright. 1999. Peterson field guide to western butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 544 pp.
Pelham, J. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 40: 658 pp.
Pyle, R.M. 2002. The Butterflies of Cascadia. A Field Guide to all the Species of Washington, Oregon, and Surrounding Territories. Seattle Audubon Society. 420 pp.
Pyle, Robert. 2009. Personal communication with Sarah Foltz, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.