Baltimore checkerspot

(Euphydryas phaeton)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Baltimore checkerspot

NatureServe

N4 - Apparently Secure

S4 - Apparently Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon and local

Flight/Season

One brood from mid-June to early August

Habitat

Marshes, wet meadows, bogs, and swamps

Size

Wingspan: 1¾ to 2¾

   
   
   

Identification

This is a geographically variable, medium-sized butterfly. It has a wingspan of 1¾ to 2¾.

The upper side of both wings is black with orange marginal spots, 2 or 3 rows of white submarginal spots, and a few to several median orange spots and white spots. In flight it looks mostly black.

The underside of both wings is black with orange marginal spots, four rows of submarginal white spots, then four alternating median rows of orange and white spots.

The club at the tip of the antenna is bright orange.

The caterpillar is up to 1¾ long, orange-and-black striped, and spiny. The head and the first and second thoracic segments are black. The first eight abdominal segments each have a broad orange band and two narrow sets of alternating black and orange bands. Each broad orange abdominal band has several black, branched spines (scoli). The branches of the scoli are hair-like and nearly as long as the scolus is tall. The ninth and tenth abdominal segments are black.

 
Similar
Species

Harris’ checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii) caterpillar is similar but has more orange on the second thoracic segment and the ninth abdominal segment. The branches of the scoli are needle-like and are less than half as long as the scolus is tall.


Larval Food

First-stage larvae: White turtlehead (Chelone glabra) and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Fourth-stage larvae: A wider variety of plants including ash (Fraxinus spp.), viburnum (Viburnum spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), and those species listed above.

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar of shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda), spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), milkweed (Asclepias spp.), viburnum (Viburnum spp.), and rose (Rosa spp.).

 
Life Cycle

In the spring the female lays a group of 100 to 700 eggs on a leaf of a host plant. The hatched larvae move to the tip of the plant and create a silky web. They feed within the web, expanding it downward as the season progresses and more of the plant is consumed. In August they spin a compact, pre-hibernation web and stop eating. In October they leave this nest and descend to the ground as a group. On the ground they split into smaller groups. Each small group constructs a hibernating web from dead grass, leaves, and other debris in which they will spend the winter.

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 20, 21, 29, 71.

Comments

This is the official state insect of Maryland.


Taxonomy

Order:

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)

 

Suborder:

Glossata

 

Infraorder:

Neolepidoptera

 

Parvorder:

Heteroneura

 

No Rank:

Ditrysia

 

No Rank:

Obtectomera

 

Superfamily:

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])

 

Family:

Nymphalidae (brush-foots)

 

Subfamily:

Nymphalinae (true brushfoots)

 

Tribe:

Melitaeini

 

Subtribe:

Euphydryina

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Baltimore

Baltimore checkerspot


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

scolus

A spiny, branched projection from a larval body wall, the branches terminating with a single stiff, hair-like or bristle-like tip.

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Tom Baker


  Baltimore checkerspot   Baltimore checkerspot
       
  Baltimore checkerspot   Baltimore checkerspot

       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Adult Dorsal View

  Baltimore checkerspot   Baltimore checkerspot
       
  Baltimore checkerspot    
       

Adult Ventral View

  Baltimore checkerspot   Baltimore checkerspot
       

Caterpillar

  Baltimore checkerspot    
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Euphydryas phaeton (Baltimore Checkerspot)
Allen Chartier
 
  Euphydryas phaeton (Baltimore Checkerspot)  
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly  
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot
jt893x
 
  Baltimore Checkerspot  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this insect.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Euphydryas phaeton oviposition
auromaj
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 6, 2012

Egg laying mami

 
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly
Basicbill's Outdoor and Travel Channel
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 14, 2011

At the Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois on June 10, 2011.

I recently learned that this butterfly is somewhat uncommon in northern Illinois. One of my favorite subjects. It is only around for a few weeks, generally mid-June.

 
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly on June 8, 2012
Basicbill's Outdoor and Travel Channel
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 10, 2012

Video captured at the Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve in Elgin, Illinois. This is the time of year when these butterflies start to roam. But only for a few weeks. This location is a reliable spot to see this species.

 
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly
Basicbill's Outdoor and Travel Channel
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 12, 2011

Video taken at the Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve, in Elgin, Illinois. This specimen was feeding at this coneflower for well over the 9 minutes of video that I collected. I've distilled that down to a couple of minutes.

 
     
  Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly on a Black-eyed Susan Flower
Basicbill's Outdoor and Travel Channel
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 29, 2011

A Black-eyed Susan has the attention of one of the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies at the Bluff Sprign Fen in Elgin, Illinois.

I've already posted one video of the Baltimore Checkerspot this year. But catching one working a flower was too good to pass up.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
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Tom Baker
6/24/2012

 

Baltimore checkerspot


Tom Baker
6/19/2012

 

Baltimore checkerspot


Tom Baker
6/18/2012

 

Baltimore checkerspot


Tom Baker
6/26/2010

 

Baltimore checkerspot


     
     
 

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