All life stages of this butterfly are visually remarkable. A single white, ivory, or pale green egg is laid on a leaf or stem. It is somewhat glossy, and is shaped like a gum drop with a ribbed texture. The caterpillar is vibrant red-orange. Black lines develop along the length of the body with broken white stripes inside them. It is studded with sturdy black spines that have thin, black hairs branching off each one. The front pair is much longer than the rest and looks more like black antennae. The head is red. When ready to pupate, plant stems, door frames, fence planks, or the sides of outbuildings are common places to find a pupal case. The chrysalis is a sight to behold. Its shiny, silvery white case has rows of black dots on it with raised, golden tubercles or bumps as well. The butterfly is neatly patterned orange and black on the top of the wings, and has orange, brown, and white marbled coloring underneath.
Multiple broods are produced in the warmer, southern states where they are active all year. Adults fly north during spring and summer and establish populations there.
The map above showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the Variegated Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.*NOTE: States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Variegated Fritillary Butterfly Caterpillar. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.