brilliant orange, black and silver butterfly. Like most insect pollinators during heat waves fritillarys will stop feeding and to seek cooler shade. This contributes to the phenomena I call "dead meadow" - it simply gets too hot for many species of insects to carry out their lives. Great spangled, like some other fritillaries also have a strange habit of drilling deep down into the grass to seemingly reach the actual surface of the dirt itself. Always be careful where you walk in fritillary territory. More than once I have been sitting down only to have this large brilliantly orange butterfly suddenly appear in the grass at my feet.
open areas usually with water to watery fields nearby by not necessarily. They need violets and combinations of healthy forests and healthy prairies. Their disappearance from an area is an excellent indicator that something is wrong with the environment. Please remember in your restoration efforts that the habitat of many species does not stop and start with the prairie but is dependent upon the condition of any adjacent wooded areas as well as the prairie. Balance your efforts between the two areas.
Probably no other species of Lep exemplies what it is to be wild than the Great Spangled and other large Fritillarys. Their vision rivals that of trout and their habitiat's are some of the most near pristine areas left. Unfortunately, Fritillary's are the fast disappearing FAMILY (not just species or subspecies) of Butterlies in North America. They don't have long.