Closeup of regal fritillary butterfly wing. Photo: Bruce Schuette

Adopt a Regal Fritillary Butterfly

The Missouri Prairie Foundation invites prairie supporters to symbolically adopt the regal fritillary butterfly (Speyeria idalia), one of thousands of species of plants and animals that live on Missouri’s prairies. Your donation helps the Missouri Prairie Foundation acquire and steward original, unplowed prairies and establish and maintain prairie plantings, which provide vitally important habitat to many prairie- and grassland-restricted plants and animals.


This colored pencil and chalk pastel drawing of a regal fritillary butterfly was created by Katherine Fratti, a Missouri native, California-based artist, and donated to the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

As a thank you for your donation of $20 or more to symbolically adopt the regal fritillary butterfly, we will send you an informational card with a print of the artwork and a 3-inch magnet featuring the butterfly art. NOTE: See information regarding PayPal at the bottom of the page.

While the loss of prairie in Missouri has been dramatic, MPF’s remnant prairies continue to provide vital habitat for a wealth of plants and animals. Learn more about the history of the prairie ecosystem in Missouri and peruse information about the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s prairies that are open to the public to enjoy on foot.

The regal fritillary is perhaps the most well-known prairie butterfly. Although the regal is related to the more common great spangled fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) that is often found in yards, in Missouri, the regal is found only on prairies with a healthy population of several species of prairie violets. It is a large butterfly with distinctive white spots on its hind wings and a conspicuous flight habit. On Missouri’s prairies, regal caterpillars eat only a few violet species and nothing else—without these plants, they cannot survive.

Regal fritillaries overwinter as larvae in the duff layer. The males emerge first and patrol the prairie, watching for emerging females. After mating, they usually die. Females hatch a couple weeks later, and are often less conspicuous, flying only to feed. Females live longer than the males, often laying eggs in late August or September. During this time, they occasionally take long flights to presumably find new prairies to colonize.

Unfortunately, many butterfly species and other pollinating insects are declining throughout their range due to loss of habitat, which is why the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s work to safeguard populations of native insects and other grassland- and prairie-dependent plants and animals is vitally important.

Learn more:

Portions of the text on this page excerpted from Prairie Paparazzi: Documenting the Regal Fritillary Butterfly by Steve Buback as it appeared in the Missouri Prairie Journal.

Find many resources for supporting pollinators with native plants at the Grow Native! webpage.

* When using the online payment forms to make a one-time payment, you can make a credit card payment via PayPal but you do not need to have a PayPal account. You will be given the option to make a credit card payment by choosing “Pay with Debit or Credit Card.” The screens you see will have buttons similar to those shown at right. To make a recurring payment, you will need a PayPal account.

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