Like the city and the oriole, the Baltimore Checkerspot was named after Lord Baltimore, an English baron that started a colony in North America back in the 1600’s. The baron’s family coat of arms consisted of black and orange checkers, and the butterfly shared those same colors.
The butterfly is black in the middle, but has a lot of color on the outer parts of the wings. Each wing has a single row of large orange spots along the bottom edge. A narrow black and white checkered fringe sits at the very edge beneath it. On the topside of the wings, up to four rows of white spots can be seen on the forewings and two white rows are on the smaller hindwings. Two large orange spots by the base of each wing sit on either side of the body. These orange spots may be solid and round, or fragmented by black veins. The leading front edge of each forewing has a thin orange line next to the head. The black body has rows of small white dots one it.
When the wings are raised, the underside of the wings is appears much lighter. The orange and white rows are still present, but they are bordered by black lines and take up more space on the wings. The face has a dab of orange on it between the eyes, and the clubs on the black antennae are also orange. This butterfly has black and orange legs, and the front pair may not be easy to see because they are short.
The caterpillar for this butterfly is black and orange, like the adult. It is covered in black spikes and its body may be completely orange, completely black, or have black and orange rings around it. It feeds on plantain and false foxglove, but its favored host is turtlehead, a native plant also known as balmony or turtle bloom. The chrysalis for this caterpillar is white with orange and black spots on it. Despite its name, the butterfly’s range extends all the way to the Mississippi River. Look for it in damp meadows, where turtleheads are likely to grow.
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Prince Edward Is.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.