Nymphalidae  fritillaries, crescents, ladies, satyrs, etc.


Some family facts

  1. Bullet  About 150 species occur in North America, 30 in Monterey County. 

  2. Bullet  Called “brushfoots” because the adult forelegs are small and hairy, like tiny brushes, and are not used for walking.

  3. Bullet  Five subfamilies occur in Monterey County, the Heliconiinae (fritillaries), Nymphalinae (crescents and checkerspots), Limenitidinae (admirals and relatives), Danainae (milkweed butterflies), and Satyrinae (satyrs).


  1. vary in shape, and in arrangement on plant


  1. vary, but often hairy or spiny

  2. typical overwintering stage



  1. have shiny spots

  2. have a cremaster . . suspended upside-down

Adult characteristics:   

  1. forelegs small, hairy, not used for walking

  2. unique forewing venation pattern

  3. rigid antennae tipped with little knobs (clubs)

  4. some overwinter

Adult behaviors:

  1. some migratory

  2. some territorial


Nymphalids in Monterey County:


   gulf fritillary  Agraulis vanillae 

   unsilvered fritillary  Speyeria adiaste

    callippe fritillary  Speyeria callippe

    coronis fritillary  Speyeria coronis


    field crescent  Phyciodes campestris

    mylitta crescent  Phyciodes mylitta

    Gabb’s checkerspot  Chlosyne gabbii

    northern checkerspot  Chlosyne palla

    variable checkerspot  Euphydryas chalcedona

    Edith’s checkerspot  Euphydryas editha

    leanira checkerspot  Thessalia leanira


    common buckeye  Junonia coenia

    mourning cloak  Nymphalis antiopa

    California tortoiseshell  Nymphalis californica

    Milbert’s tortoiseshell  Nymphalis milberti

    hoary comma  Polygonia gracilis

    oreas (gray) comma  Polygonia progne oreas

    satyr comma  Polygonia satyrus

    red admiral  Vanessa atalanta

    west coast lady  Vanessa annabella

    painted lady  Vanessa cardui

    American lady  Vanessa virginiensis

    California sister  Adelpha bredowii

    Lorquin’s admiral  Limenitis lorquini


    monarch  Danaus plexippus

    queen  Danaus gilippus


    common wood-nymph  Cercyonis pegala

    great basin wood-nymph  Cercyonis sthenele

    common ringlet  Coenonympha tullia californica


mylitta crescent on the Big Sur coast