Harris' Checkerspot

Chlosyne harrisii

This species is not a common butterfly in Wisconsin, despite its larval host, Flat-top Aster, being widely distributed. I have only seen this species in four locations in Wisconsin.

There are two forms in Wisconsin, one more open (with fewer dark markings) than the other; both can be seen in the images here. This is listed in Howe (1975) as var. hanhami, and it occurs in northern Wisconsin “where it intergrades with var. harissii”. The plate of this subspecies listed in Howe’s book is very similar to the ones in these photos of the more open hindwings here.

Weekly sightings for Harris’ Checkerspot

Identifying characteristics

Above, this species is very similar to the other Checkerspots and Crescents, with a basic orange base with black markings. The general form that is shown in most eastern butterfly books shows the upper wings are very similar to the Silvery and Gorgone Checkerspots, with a very distinct orange arc through the middle of the wings. In an alternate form shown in some Wisconsin individuals, the wing area is much more open, similar to the Northern Crescent, missing some of the black markings, and therefore looks very different.

Below, this species is more reddish orange, with three rows of white markings on the hind wing.

Similar species

The Harris Checkerspot is most likely to be confused with the Silvery Checkerspot, which looks very similar above but below does not have a complete row of white crescents near the wing margins like the Harris Checkerspot, and has a single large crescent (more than a half moon) in the middle margin of the hindwing. The Silvery Checkerspot is much lighter below, especially in older specimens.

Habitat

Bog edges and brushy, moist meadows where its host plant, Flat-topped asters, are found.

Flight

One brood in June and early July.

Abundance

This is a very local species in Wisconsin, and is not usually found in abundance, as are the other Checkerspots.

Early Harris’ Checkerspot Sightings

Date County Reported by
May 24, 2012 Marathon Mary Backus
May 27, 2006 Jackson Todd Sima
May 31, 2010 Wood Ron Arnold
Jun 1, 2010 Wood Ron Arnold
Jun 2, 2007 Wood Ron Arnold

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Harris' Checkerspot
Map key
Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, June 25, 2004.

Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, June 20, 2004.

Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, June 20, 2004.

Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, July 6, 2003.

Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, June 25, 2004.

Harris' CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, June 25, 2004.