Baltimore checkerspot

(Euphydryas phaeton)

Conservation Status
Baltimore checkerspot
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N4 - Apparently Secure

S4 - Apparently Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Baltimore checkerspot is a geographically variable, medium-sized butterfly. It is the official state insect of Maryland.

Adults have 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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 1¾ to 2¾

 
     
 

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.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Marshes, wet meadows, bogs, and swamps

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One brood from mid-June to early August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

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.).

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 29, 30, 71.

 
  8/5/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon and local

 
         
 
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-footed butterflies)  
 

Subfamily

Nymphalinae (checkerspots, anglewings, peacocks, and allies)  
 

Tribe

Melitaeini (checkerspots)  
  Subtribe Euphydryina  
 

Genus

Euphydryas  
       
 

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
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.
 
 

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.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
       
 
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
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
   

 

   
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2022 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.