Damoetas Checkerspot (Chlosyne damoetas) (Skinner, 1902)

Diagnosis: The Damoetas Checkerspot is dull orange with extensive black shading that gives a dull, greasy sheen to the wings. The underside has white and pale orange banding, as in Sagebrush Checkerspot (C. acastus). Wingspan 31 to 41 mm.

Subspecies: There are two subspecies, with only the nominate subspecies occurring in Canada.

Range: This checkerspot is restricted in Canada to alpine areas in the front range of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta as far north as Cadomin, and a few locations in British Columbia, including Mt. McLean. Populations extend southward into the U.S. as far as California.

Similar Species: The Northern Checkerspot (C. palla) and Hoffmann's Checkerspot (C. hoffmanni) are similar, but have pale yellow rather than white spots on the underside of the hindwing. The Sagebrush Checkerspot (C. acastus), which occurs in arid habitats east of the range of damoetas, has a brighter orange upperside, without the dark, greasy look of damoetas. [compare images]

Early Stages: The mature larvae are similar to those of the Sagebrush Checkerspot. As with other alpine species, they can take up to two years to develop. They have been reported to feed on Fleabane (Erigeron leiomerus) and Alpine Goldenrod (Solidago multiradiata).

Abundance: This species is uncommon to rare in most of its range.

Flight Season: In its Canadian range, this butterfly flies mainly in July.

Habits: The Damoetas Checkerspot is an alpine butterfly, flying over rockslides above timberline. It alights on boulders and stops regularly to feed on flowers. Numbers fluctuate from year to year depending on weather conditions (Pyle, 1981).

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.