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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
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Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea)


There is no overview information available for that species.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Arctic Fritillary (Boloria chariclea). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Boloria chariclea in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was originally presented as part of the Online Field Guide to Rare Lepidoptera: Bogs and Barrens.

Identification: Wings are orange-brown with dark markings. The underside of the hindwing has thin white spots topped with brown; inwardly pointing triangles are black with little or no white areas. The scalloped median band is purplish to pale yellow-brown with a submarginal row of black spots. A good view of the underside of the hindwing is necessary for identification. Wingspan: 39-44mm. Length of forewing: 20-22 mm. The larvae are grey with orange spines and black bands (Layberry et al. 1998).

Similar Species: The August flight period distinguishes it from the other similar bog-obligate Boloria, which fly in May to mid June. The upperside of the silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) looks similar, but the underside hindwing is marked with prominent silver spots.

Habitat: Spruce bogs ranging from hummocky, sparsely timbered sites to those with fair tree cover. Sometimes present in more mineral-rich sites supporting bog willow and bog birch. Most Wisconsin sites have large open areas of sphagnum mat associated with black spruce bog forest.

Nectar Source: Observed in Wisconsin nectaring on a variety of plants including yarrow, joe pyeweed (Eupatorium maculatum), common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and goldenrod (Solidago spp.) (Perkins, 2003). Ferge reports Spiraea spp. and fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium).

Host Plant: Violets (Viola), scrub willows (Salix spp.), and possibly blueberries (Vaccinium spp.). Possibly bog willow (Salix pedicellaris) in Wisconsin. Salix arctica and perhaps S. herbacea are recorded hostplants in Manitoba (Scott 1986) and eastern Canada (Opler and Krizek 1984) but these species do not occur in Wisconsin.

Associated Species: Flying at the same time is the silver-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) from which it is indistinguishable in flight. However, silver-bordered fritillaries beat their wings rapidly in a choppy flight while the Arctic fritillary has a slower wingbeat and often soars between wingbeats (Perkins 2003).

State Distribution: Douglas County. Very localized though may be abundant where they are found.

Global Distribution: Circumboreal. The species chariclea occurs from Greenland throughout Canada and into the U.S.; Alaska, Washington, Oregon and south through the Rocky Mountain region to New Mexico. Eastern populations occur in Northern Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Disruption of bog hydrology, loss of roadside and bog edge nectar sources due to inappropriate mowing or road construction.

Phenology: Flight begins around late July in northern Wisconsin and has been recorded as late as August 20.

Life and Natural History: Univoltine. Eggs are laid in late summer. Oviposition sites in Wisconsin have yet to be established, but possibly may be in the leaf litter near the foodplants or on the underside of leaves. Young larvae hibernate.

Survey Guidelines: Usually found on flowers along roadways on upland near or adjoining the bog habitat. Expect to net individuals for close inspection of the underside. New county records should be documented with voucher specimens.

Inventory, Monitoring and Research Needs: Search for additional localities in Northwestern Wisconsin and verify the larval hostplant.

Additional Information: Recent revisionary studies have found that the name Boloria titania refers to populations restricted to Europe. All North American populations previously referred to as B. titania are now B. chariclea, the arctic fritillary (Layberry et al., 1998). Wisconsin populations of the arctic fritillary belong to the subspecies grandis.



Arctic Fritillary

The Arctic fritillary is a boreal species that reaches its southernmost range limits in the acid peatlands of northwestern Wisconsin.

Photo © Ann Thering.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Arctic Fritillary. Only natural communities for which Arctic Fritillary is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Arctic Fritillary. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Arctic Fritillary occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

Ecological landscape score
Northwest Lowlands 3

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020