Plants and Animals

Boloria frigga Frigga fritillary

Key Characteristics

The hindwing below is well-marked with the white spot at the base of the hindwings leading margin especially prominent. Forewing apex is rounded . Usually darker basally with the hindwing margin darker and with the forewing cell-end bar solid black. The caterpillar is black with purplish lateral lines and is covered with black spines.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Baraga 2 2009
Delta 1 2004
Dickinson 1 2006
Iron 2 2006
Keweenaw 1 1989
Luce 4 1999
Marquette 4 2009
Schoolcraft 1 1987

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


In Michigan, this species is primarily associated with sphagnum-heath bogs with dwarf birch. This species also is associated with swamps, lowland shrub, lowland conifer, mesic conifer, dry conifer and pond habitats. The larvae feed on wild cranberry (Vaccinium sp.) and other heaths (leatherleaf, bog rosemary, etc.). The larvae also will feed on bog or dwarf birch (Betula pumila). Though it is not an avid flower visitor, adults have been observed nectaring on bog laurel (Kalmia polifolia) and bog rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla).

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: BogPatterned fen.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Threats to this species may include climate change as this is a boreal species; loss of habitat due to mining practices such as peat mining; decline in larval host plant populations (e.g., bog or dwarf birch); and lack of scientific knowledge. The sites at which this species has been documented should be protected and maintained. Maintenance and long-term preservation of the extant sites and habitats with which this species may include maintaining and/or restoring hydrologic regimes, controlling invasive plants and controlling vegetative succession through promotion or replication of natural disturbance regimes and other ecological processes that drive the persistence and establishment of these natural communities. Additionally, surveys are needed to determine this species' status, abundance and distribution in the state. Research to obtain additional information on this species' life history and ecology and assess threats to this species also is warranted. Identification of larval host plant(s) for this species in Michigan is needed, and subsequent protection or restoration efforts should consider the status of the host plant(s).

Active Period

Flight from second week of May to fourth week of June

Survey Methods

The best way to survey for this species is by conducting visual meander surveys which consists of checking for this species near larval food plants, on adult nectar sources, and in mud puddles. Larvae are present from mid-June until early spring the following year. Adults fly for a very short period in the spring, but adults have been documented in Michigan from mid-May to the end of June.

Visual, aerial net

Survey Period: From second week of May to fourth week of June

Time of Day: Daytime


Survey References

  • Klots, A.B. 1951. Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 349pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Glassberg, J. 1999. Butterflies through Binoculars: The East. Oxford University Press, New York. 242pp.
  • Kriegel, R.D. and M.C. Nielsen. 2000. A survey of Boloria freija and B. frigga in northern Michigan sphagnum heath bogs. Unpublished report to the Michigan Nongame Wildlife Fund, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, Lansing, MI. 22 pp. + apps.
  • Nekola, J.C. 1998. Butterfly (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae and Satyridae) faunas of three peatland habitat types in the Lake Superior drainage basin of Wisconsin. Great Lakes Entomol. 31(1):27-38.
  • Nielsen, M.C. 1999. Michigan butterflies and skippers: A field guide and reference. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2675, East Lansing. 248pp.
  • Stehr, F. W. 1997. Michigan Lepidoptera Survey Sites and Seasonal Occurrence of Michigan's Listed Species Annual Report 1997. 30 pp.+ MI Lepidoptera Survey Data Collection Form