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Bipartisan effort to name State Butterfly

The regal fritillary is one of the largest butterfly species to inhabit Iowa. They do not migrate, and can be found in their various life stages from spring through fall. They hibernate in the winter and spend the warmer months feeding on nectar from native prairie flowers. Because of its close association with native prairies, and efforts in Iowa to restore native prairies, two legislators have offered a bill to make the regal fritillary the State Butterfly of Iowa.

The regal fritillary is one of the largest butterfly species to inhabit Iowa. They do not migrate, and can be found in their various life stages from spring through fall. They hibernate in the winter and spend the warmer months feeding on nectar from native prairie flowers. Because of its close association with native prairies, and efforts in Iowa to restore native prairies, two legislators have offered a bill to make the regal fritillary the State Butterfly of Iowa.

When visitors come to the Iowa State Historical Museum, they can learn a lot about Iowa’s native habitat.

They can learn about the state bird, the eastern goldfinch; the state tree, the oak tree; the state flower, the wild rose; and the state rock, the geode. And, if two members of the Iowa House of Representatives have their way, future visitors will learn about another part of Iowa’s natural heritage: the state butterfly.

House Joint Resolution 2 would establish the regal fritillary as the state’s official butterfly. The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) and Rep. Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids).

The proposed legislation, if it is approved, would require the director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to find photos of the butterfly and display it, along with detailed information about the species, at the state historical museum. The Legislative Services Agency would also be required to include the regal fritillary in the Official State Register.

The regal fritillary is one of many species of butterfly that call Iowa home. The species is most notable for its size – some have wingspans of up to four inches – and for the fact so many Iowans mistakenly identify them as monarch butterflies because the two species have similar colorations.

Over time, the range of regal fritillaries has shrunk, but the center of that range has almost always been in Iowa.

There are no lobbyist declarations for HJR 2 yet.