Cindy Song - Village School
Mercer County Winner
If you were to hike out to a wet, marshy meadow in summer, you would see butterflies darting around. You would see the reflective, shiny silver spots on their hind-wings glinting in the sunlight. Those would be silver-bordered fritillaries, rare butterflies that are found in areas such as central Alaska and southeastern Canada, as well as New Jersey.
Silver-bordered fritillaries are distinguished by the metallic silver spots on the undersides of their hind-wings and are named for the distinctive lightly colored border on the edge of their wings. Their fore-wings are a tawny orange hue with black markings. Adults seek food in composite flowers, especially asters, goldenrod and black-eyed susans. You are most likely to find these beautiful butterflies in wet areas, such as bogs, marshes or wet meadows. The silver-bordered fritillary's range is in the northern areas of America. It is medium-sized, with a wing span about 3.5 to 5.4 centimeters.
Females' eggs are laid one at a time near plants that caterpillars can feed on, such as violets or asters. Overwintering occurs in the third stage of larvae. Silver-bordered fritillaries take flight from mainly mid-May to mid-September, usually found flying singly but occasionally in groups.
These dainty butterflies belong to the family brush-footed butterflies, or nymphalidae. Their sub-family is long-wings, or heliconiinae. Their scientific name is bolaria selene myrina.
Silver-bordered fritillaries are threatened in New Jersey because New Jersey is located at the southeastern limit of their range, so these butterflies do not thrive in New Jersey; they are more common in the north. If you want to see more of these gorgeous invertebrates, save the wet grasslands where the silver-bordered fritillaries reside and hope to catch sight of more next summer!
Princeton Junction, NJ
Teacher: Mrs. Kercheval