Speyeria carolae - (dos Passos and Grey, 1942)
Carol's Fritillary
Synonym(s): Speyeria zerene carolae (dos Passos and Grey, 1942)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Speyeria carolae (dos Passos and Grey, 1942) (TSN 777997)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.112965
Element Code: IILEPJ6150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Nymphalidae Speyeria
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Speyeria carolae
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 24May2007
Global Status Last Changed: 13Mar2000
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Widespread within Spring Mountains, Clark County, Nevada and not obviously threatened. Number of actual metapopulation occurrences unknown, perhaps only one. Population structure, size, fluctuations etc. unknown but probably is subject to declines during dry years. Clearly not imminently imperiled but seems at least globally uncommon to rare on basis of its very small range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2N3 (30Sep1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Nevada (S2S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Confined to the Spring Mountains, Clark County, Nevada (Opler, 1999).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Nevada Heritage has 40 Element Occurrences as of 31 July 1998. However, it is unclear how many actual metapopulations these represent.

Population Size Comments: Unknown.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Members of this genus and most other butterflies are very vulnerable to fires at all seasons. Invasion of its habitats by cheatgrass (BROMUS TECTORUM) would pose a threat to host violets and increase likelihood of late spring and summer fires.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Seems stable.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Taxon seems fairly resistant. In general though SPEYERIA seem to be more fragile than most Lepidoptera.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Confined to the Spring Mountains, Clark County, Nevada (Opler, 1999).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NV

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NV Clark (32003)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
15 Las Vegas Wash (15010015)+
16 Sand Spring-Tikaboo Valleys (16060014)+, Ivanpah-Pahrump Valleys (16060015)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A Fritillary butterfly
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Ranges from 1800 to 2700 meters elevation in the Spring Mountains, Clark County, Nevada. The assumed larval hostplant, VIOLA PURPUREA VAR. CHARLESTONENSIS, is sparse but widely distributed in the pinon-juniper mixed conifer zones. The preferred nectar source, CIRSIUM ARIZONICUM VAR. NIDULUM is also widely distributed.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Larvae probably eat any available species of violets. Adults use and require a variety of nectar sources over much of the summer. The preferred nectar source, CIRSIUM ARIZONICUM VAR. NIDULUM is also widely distributed.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Species of this genus overwinter as unfed larvae in the litter and feed up rapidly in spring. Adults of most species are fairly long-lived and there may be a reproductive diapause in females during part of the summer.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Speyeria Butterflies, Generic

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs or has occurred with potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally a location with violets (larval foodplant), nectar flowers and suitable overall habitat for the particular species where presence has been verified by specimen (strongly preferred westward) or expertly identified photograph. For some species in eastern North America sight records from experienced observers are acceptable. Most viable EOs will be at least 10 hectares and some taxa such as S. IDALIA require much more space (as is also suggested by Layberry et al., 1998 for S. EDWARDSII).
Mapping Guidance: Use the unsuitable habitat distance only if there is really no suitable breeding habitat between sites and adults do not regularly visit the intervening area for nectar. For example for a prairie or woodland taxon the suitable habitat distance should be applied between high quality habitat patches separated by a landscape containing marginal or degraded habitat patches or abundant flowers such as thistles.If the habitat is a feature clearly contained within an overall natural community matrix, such as openings in chaparral or woodland, then all such patches within that community occurrence should generally be considered a single metapopulation EO and the suitable habitat distance used The EO boundaries can be based largely on the community boundaries but might include additional nectaring areas if these are a locally limiting resource and not abundant in the primary habitat. Consult habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences for individual species. Presence of genus VIOLA is a critical habitat feature, but as far as known the exact species of violet is not important.
Separation Barriers: This definitely varies by species and cannot usually be known. Some open country species (such as S. IDALIA) will not enter wooded areas, but might fly over or around them. Developed areas, including lightly urbanized ones, cannot be assumed to be barriers as wandering adults will enter them to visit flower gardens. Due to high temperatures and lack of flowers lowland deserts probably can be considered significant barriers to most species.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 4 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: In arid regions consider whether hot arid terrain might actually be a thermal barrier and not merely unsuitable. If this appears to be the case a separation distance as small as 2 km might be appropriate.
Separation Justification: See separate documentation for S. IDALIA. Individuals of that species have been documented several times as moving a few kilometers in one day either one way or round trip during marking studies by Barb Barton in Pennsylvania and by Dale Schweitzer in New England. Documentation is less for other species but individuals several kilometers out of habitat are frequently seen for some of the species such as S. CYBELE eastward. At least the females are long lived and apparently move about during their late summer oviposition season. On the other hand adults are not commonly season more than a kilometer or so out of habitat if the intervening terrain is obviously different. Undoubtedly movement potential does vary among species and cold climate species probably are less able to travel due to temperature and generally shorter flight season. The more extreme habitat specialists and relictual populations are probably sedentary. A further serious complication is that habitat that is completely unsuitable for breeding (e.g. lacks violets) may contain a lot of nectar and thus should probably be considered suitable habitat in the context of separation distance. Adults of species such as S. DIANA, IDALIA, CYBELE, ATLANTIS frequently visit such places. The figures are educated guesses based on general experience.
The rather low figure of two kilometers takes into account the rather discrete habitat preferences of most of the species. Speyeria are not likely to utilize any patch of foodplants in inappropriate habitat context. Even S. CYBELE, probably the least specialized species, does not use extensive violet populations in highly disturbed habitats such as lawns or most city parks, even when these are mostly not subject to mowing or other regular disturbance.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Use with caution and some knowledge of the adult and breeding habitat. For a flying animal easily capable of covering 1-6 kilometers in a day that lives around one-two months and with occurrences being populations of generally hundreds of adults, it would be unreasonable to assume truly suitable habitat without large gaps would remain regularly unoccupied even if parts of it were vacant in a given year (such as in some cases after fall or spring fires). Apply the 2 km radius only for extensive suitable habitat. If the habitat does not extend that far do not infer presence. For habitats less than 400 hectares assume full occupancy. If the nature or extent of the local habitat is unclear, select a smaller inferred extent. Persistent greater fritillary occurrences usually occupy more than 50 hectares and often several hundred.
Date: 19Jul2001
Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Notes: These Specs are meant to cover most of the G4 and G5, and some G3, species within this large genus. The rarer species usually have their own Specs and are often better studied. There is substantial species or subspecies specific literature on this genus, dealing mostly with the rarities. If better taxon-specific local information is available, use it rather than these Specs.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 13Mar2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: JDM - NVHP, D.F. Schweitzer ABI
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 12Nov2000
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): P.A. OPLER AND D.F.SCHWEITZER

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Austin, G.T., P. Brussard, and D.D. Murphy. 1998. Rare or candidate butterflies of Nevada.

  • Emmel, T.C. and G.T. Austin. 1998. What is Argynnis carolae? The cytotaxonomy and systematic position of a Speyeria relict from Nevada (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Pages 443-450 in: Emmel, T.C., editor. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida, 878 pages.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Opler, Paul A., Harry Pavulaan, and Ray E. Stanford. 2000. August 17-last update. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. Online. Available: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepi d/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp.

  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. 583 pp.

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