Lesser Fritillary and True Fritillary (but what species?????)

Hi. I think this is some sort of fritillary, but for the life of me I can’t figure out which one. It was taken in SE Pennsylvania, in early September, and there were just hundreds of them around my friend’s garden, and actually around the whole neighborhood. I have some butterfly bushes that supplied us with a constant stream of entertainment all summer, but I never saw these guys there. Any ideas? PS: You are doing such a great thing with your amazing website! Thank you.

Hi Louise,
To add to your identification confusion, we are of the opinion that you have two different species of Fritillary here. Sadly, we will not be much assistance as we have never mastered the nuances of identifying the different species. Eric Eaton provided this addition: “The upper [left side] fritillary is not a true fritillary, but is called the “variegated fritillary.” The other is something in the genus Speyeria, but you usually need to see the underside of the wings to have a better idea of a species ID.”

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