Gillette's Checkerspot (Euphydryas gillettii [Barnes])
Wing span: 1 1/2 - 1 7/8 inches (3.8 - 4.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside of both wings is dark brown with a wide orange-red submarginal band; other spots are orange-red and white.
Life history: Adults fly slowly and roost singly in conifers. Males patrol around tops of trees or tall flowers for females. Eggs are laid in batches on undersides of sunlit leaves so that the warmth helps the eggs develop faster. Young caterpillars live together in a silk nest, feeding on leaves and leaf buds. At low elevations, fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate. Populations at higher elevations require two years to complete development; during the first winter, young caterpillars hibernate after feeding for two weeks; during the second winter, fifth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from June-August.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae) including twin-berry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata) and snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus); and the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) including speedwell (Veronica wormskjoldii).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open, moist conifer forests; moist meadows; streamsides.
Range: Very local in southwest Alberta, eastern Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming.
Conservation: All populations should be monitored and conserved.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
Management needs: Ensure presence of sufficient habitats in appropriate successional condition. Some captive propagation and reintroduction may be necessary.
Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann