Baltimore Checkerspot, Euphydryas phaeton

Baltimore Checkerspot

Euphydryas phaeton

A black butterfly with a row of orange spots on the margins of both wings, several rows of white submarginal spots, and a few orange and white spots nearer the body. Below this is the only one of the twenty True Brushfoots in Wisconsin that looks very similar both above and below.

Open wet meadows where its host plant turtlehead grows, and adjacent uplands where it may often be found nectaring on black-eyed susan, milkweeds, thistles, or other nectar sources. The turtlehead generally blooms only after the Baltimore Checkerspot is finished flying, which may complicate your search.

Overwintering Strategy:   Caterpillar

One brood. Found from late June to late July.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Plants where eggs are laid and that caterpillars eat before hibernating are Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) and False foxglove (Aureolaria species). After overwintering, caterpillars may continue to use these plants, but may also wander and feed on unrelated plants including Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum), Canadian lousewort or Wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), and White ash (Fraxinus americana)

The Baltimore Checkerspot is one of the most distinctive butterfly species in Wisconsin and is unlikely to be confused with any other butterfly. It is always a pleasure to see fresh Baltimore Checkerspots flying through the wet meadows where their primary host plant Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is found.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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