Female Diana Fritillary and a perplexing situation

Female Diana Fritillary ?
Hi again, Bugman
I live in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau. Today I spotted this gorgeous butterfly on my neighbor’s Butterfly Bush. It was among lots of yellow and black Swallowtails. And what I think is a Great Spangled Fritillary. Could this be a female Diana Fritillary? Thank you,
Carla May

Hi there Carla May,
The open winged butterfly you have sent us is definitely a female Diana Fritillary, but the closed winged view has us a bit puzzled. BugGuide has images of female Diana Fritillaries with closed wings and males with closed wings and they look distinctly different from one another. BugGuide even has an image of a pair with closed wings. Comparing your closed winged view to that image is interesting since your example more closely resembles the male and not the female. Are these two photos in fact the same specimen? We ask this because the white spotting visible on the dorsal surface outer border looks to be the markings of the female. Since the Diana Fritillary exhibits such extreme sexual dimorphism, we are puzzled by your documentation. Perhaps a more knowledgeable reader can clarify this for us.

Update: (08/20/2008) More pics of the Diana Fritillary in east Tennessee
Hi Daniel, I saw the mystery Diana Fritillary today on my neighbor’s Butterfly Bush. It was the only butterfly on the bush. I assume it’s the same one I saw yesterday because of the little piece that is missing from it’s right wing. Here are five more photos. In four of them you can see the wing with the little piece that is missing. Hope this helps. Thanks much! Carla May
Fairfield Glade, Tennessee
(Cumberland Plateau)

Hi again Carla May,
Thanks for establishing that this is the same individual. Your new photo clearly shows both the upper and undersides of the wings of this lovely female Diana Fritillary. We still hope someone can clarify the apparent “male” pattern on the underside.

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