The Diana fritillary (Speyeria diana) is a butterfly found in several wooded areas in southern and eastern North America (primarily in the Arkansas River valley, several counties in South Carolina, and spots along the Appalachian mountain range). The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with males of the species exhibiting an orange color on the edges of their wings, with a burnt orange underwing. Females are dark blue, with dark, almost dusty underwings, and are also larger than males.
The larvae feed on violet leaves. Dianas are unusual in that they do not lay their eggs directly on the host plant, instead scattering the eggs around the base of the plant. Upon hatching, larvae burrow into the ground over winter to emerge in spring. Adults feed on flower nectar and dung.
On February 28, 2007, Act 156 of the Arkansas General Assembly designated the Diana fritillary as the official state butterfly. Introduced by Representative John Paul Wells of Logan County, the legislation for making the butterfly a state symbol took note of the butterfly’s beauty, educational importance, and impact on tourism. Arkansas is the only state to designate the Diana fritillary as its state butterfly; pairing it with its state insect, the honeybee. Arkansas is the twenty-sixth state to designate a butterfly as a state symbol.
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