North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Fulvia Checkerspot (Thessalia fulvia)
JPG -- species photo

Fulvia Checkerspot (Thessalia fulvia [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 15/16 inches (3.2 - 5 cm).

Identification: Variable. Male upperside is dark orange to blackish with wide dark veins and light bands; female is lighter orange. Underside of hindwing is cream with black veins; black submarginal and postmedian bands contain white spots.

Life history: Males perch and sometimes patrol during the day on hilltops to find females. Eggs are laid in groups on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and flowers; young ones live together in a loose web. Third-stage caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: Three broods from April-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Paintbrush (Castilleja integra and C. lanata) in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Prairie and desert hills, rocky ridgetops.

Range: Kansas, Colorado, southern Utah, and Arizona south to central Mexico.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.


Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson 
     field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates.

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

Fulvia Checkerspot (Thessalia fulvia)
distribution map
map legend

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