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Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Baltimore Checkerspot.




Orange and black, like Lord Baltimore's coat of arms, this butterfly spans farther west than just Maryland.



 Updated: 6/19/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org




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
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Nymphalidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Euphydryas [ View More ]
            Species: phaeton
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Euphydryas phaeton
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 44mm to 76mm (1.72in to 2.96in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; orange; white
Descriptors: rows of white spots; orange bottom spots; orange rim border; large orange spots by head; black center; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 44mm | Hi: 76mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
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State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
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State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of Idaho graphic
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State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
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State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.