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The wingspan is around 5 cm. The upperside is black with wide orange submarginal bands; this orange slightly fades to yellow near the inner edge. Both wings have narrow black marginal borders; the hindwing may have blue spots.
All of Canada and Alaska south of the tundra, all of the western United States and most of the eastern United States. In these areas they commonly occur in wet areas, including moist pastures, marshes, most trails and roadsides.