Identification: Geographically variable. Upperside reddish orange-brown; male forewing with black spot below cell and with no black scales on veins. Underside of hindwing has pale submarginal band narrow or missing.
Life History: Males patrol for females during warm hours. Females walk about on the ground to lay single eggs near violets. First-stage caterpillars do not feed, but overwinter until spring, when they eat young leaves of violets.
Wing Span: 2 1/2 - 3 1/4 inches (6.3 - 8.3 cm).
Caterpillar Hosts: Various violet species including northern downy violet (Viola fimbriatula) and lance-leaved violet (V. lanceolata).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers of milkweed and viper's bugloss, among others.
Habitat: Moist prairies, high mountain meadows, openings in barrens, brushland, dry fields, open oak woods, bogs.
Range: Canada south of the taiga from Nova Scotia west through the northern Midwest and Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains, then south in the mountains to east-central Arizona and northern New Mexico; south in the Appalachians to northern Georgia.