Speyeria zerene behrensii

Behren's Silverspot Butterfly

FWS Focus


The Behren’s silverspot butterfly is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of approximately 2.2 inches. The upper surfaces are golden brown with numerous black spots and lines. Wing undersides are brown, orange-brown, and tan with black lines and distinctive silver and black spots. This species was historically recorded from several coastal locations from central Sonoma County north to near the City of Mendocino, Mendocino County, California. Within the past decade, the species has been observed at only three areas: two highly localized sites in Sonoma County, and a cluster of observations, perhaps representing a metapopulation, in southern Mendocino County. The butterfly is associated with grasslands on coastal terraces and stabilized dunes, where its larval host plant, the early blue violet (Viola adunca) occurs. Disturbance is probably important in maintaining suitable habitat for the species; in the absence of disturbance, shrubs and coastal pines can colonize coastal prairies and degrade or eliminate habitat. Key resources for the species include sufficient violets to support larval development for a population, as well as nectar sources for the adult butterflies.

Scientific Name

Speyeria zerene behrensii
Common Name
Behren's silverspot Butterfly
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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