Historically, it appears that Aphrodite Fritillary regularly roamed east as far as Baltimore; records of collections in the 1980’s in Green Ridge State Forest are rather common in the field notes and memories of lepidopterists still active in the field. But in recent years, Aphrodite is only known from Garrett Co. Has the range shrunk so drastically, and if so, why? Or is it still flying among the much more common Great Spangled Fritillary and just not being reported?
I’d like your help over the next couple of weeks to help understand the current range of Aphrodite in MD. The species flies from the middle of June to late July (and often later) in Maryland, so the next month or so should reveal where Aphrodite Fritillary is found in the state. We know it’s present in Garrett Co., with recent photo documentation to show for it, so I’m less interested in Garrett Co. records. But any records from Allegany, Washington, or Frederick Counties would be most welcome.
Luckily, this is one fritillary complex that is relatively easy to tell apart from photos of the underside. Ideally, it will be one in hand with a good close-up pic, but they regularly nectar with wings over their backs (on milkweeds now, primarily, on Joe-pye later in the season) and allow good photography. We’re looking for good, high-quality photographs that show the full butterfly in mostly full frame (and include the eyes to exclude Atlantis Fritillary). Photo records of the species you might have taken in past years are also most welcome!
Photos like these would be ideal:
There are certainly some fritillaries that challenge ID; we’re looking for clear and obvious examples of Aphrodite Fritillary rather than hard-to-classify individuals. Any notes about habitat would also be very welcome, including nectar source, proximity to wooded areas, how dry the habitat is, etc.
I’m happy to pull all the non-Garrett documented Aphrodite photos together for a discussion at summer’s end and post them on LepLog.
Look forward to seeing you join TAAP!
— Rick for the MDLOG, the MD Leps and Odes Group.