Silvery Checkerspot

Chlosyne nycteis

The Silvery Checkerspot can be found in a variety of habitats. I first saw this butterfly hilltopping and assumed that this was its normal habitat, but I have since seen this butterfly in many different habitats including a wooded wetland where poison sumac literally surrounded me and I had trouble fighting my way back out without running into this plant that causes me more grief than poison ivy. This species is fairly easy to identify when it is fresh and you can see the underside, but it wears more than other butterflies, tends to look very plain, and loses it contrast, as it gets older.

Weekly sightings for Silvery Checkerspot

Identifying characteristics

Above, it is very similar to the Gorgone Checkerspot, with orange wings and black markings. The row of submarginal spots on the hindwing usually has one or two of the black dots with white in them. Below, there is large white crescent in the middle of the hindwing margin and a distinct row of white median ellipses that are obvious in fresh specimens.

Similar species

The Gorgone Checkerspot is very similar from above, but is smaller and the submarginal row black dots do not have some with white in them. Below, the Gorgone is easily distinguished from the Silvery Checkerspot by the arrow-shaped crescents on the Gorgone. Below, the Harris’ Checkerspot is similar in size, with a noticeable median row of white ovals, like the Silvery Checkerspot, but the Harris’ Checkerspot is reddish below with three distinct rows of white spots on the hindwing.

Habitat

Found in a variety of habitats including woodland edges, roadsides, and, marshes.

Flight

One brood throughout most of the state, although it may occasionally have a partial second generation in the southern part of the state.

In Michigan Butterflies and Skippers, this species is listed as double brooded, but other books suggest that it should be single there also. In central Wisconsin, I have only seen this species in late June and into July, which suggests a single generation, a week or two later than the Harris’ Checkerspot. In the Field Guide to the Butterflies of Illinois, this butterfly is recorded as having two generations, so it is possible that the Silvery Checkerspot does have a second generation in the more southern counties, at least occasionally.

Abundance

In the right habitat, this species can become somewhat abundant, but I have never seen more than 10 in one area.

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Silvery Checkerspot
Map key
Silvery CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Bass Lake SNA, Waushara Co., WI. June 27, 2003.

Silvery CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Bass Lake SNA, Waushara Co., WI. June 27, 2003.

Silvery CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Fox River National Wildlife Refuge, Marquette Co., WI. June 30, 2002.

Silvery CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Fox River National Wildlife Refuge, Marquette Co., WI. June 30, 2002.