Baltimore Checkerspot

Euphydryas phaeton

The Baltimore Checkerspot is one of the most distinctive butterfly species in Wisconsin and is unlikely to be confused with any other butterfly. It is always a pleasure to see fresh Baltimore Checkerspots flying through the wet meadows where their primary host plant Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is found. Baltimore Checkerspots are fairly easy to coax onto your hand from a good nectar source, and I am always amazed at how small they appear up close as compared to seeing them flying.

Weekly sightings for Baltimore Checkerspot

Identifying characteristics

A black butterfly with a row of orange spots on the margins of both wings, several rows of white submarginal spots, and a few orange and white spots nearer the body. Below this is the only one of the twenty True Brushfoots in Wisconsin that looks very similar both above and below.

Similar species

None in Wisconsin.

Habitat

Open wet meadows where its host plant turtlehead grows, and adjacent uplands where it may often be found nectaring on black-eyed susan, milkweeds, thistles, or other nectar sources. The turtlehead generally blooms only after the Baltimore Checkerspot is finished flying, which may complicate your search.

Flight

One brood. Found from late June to late July.

Abundance

Often very abundant where it is found. In an NABA butterfly count in Trempealeau County in 2004, we saw over 200 of these butterflies in a rather small area.

Early Baltimore Checkerspot Sightings

Date County Reported by
May 28, 2012 Dane Ann Thering and Dave Eide
May 31, 2006 Forest Erik Huebler
Jun 2, 2012 Dane Douglas Buege
Jun 5, 2016 Dane Tod Highsmith and Joan...
Jun 5, 2016 Sauk Ann Thering and Dave Eide

Locations

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

Muir Park SNA, Marquete Co., WI. July 11, 2004.

Baltimore CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Germania Marsh, Marquette Co., WI. July 5, 1999.

Baltimore CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI. July 2, 2004.

Baltimore CheckerspotClick to enlarge

Germania Marsh, Marquette Co., WI. July 19, 1999.

Baltimore Checkerspot

Swamp Rd., DNR land North of Wautoma, Waushara Co., WI.