Gillette's Checkerspot (Euphydryas gillettii) (Barnes, 1897)

Diagnosis: This medium-sized (wingspan: 36 to 45 mm) checkerspot is the most distinctive of the four members of its genus found in western Canada. The upperside is black, with a band of large orange-red spots and smaller white spots. It is the only one of the Euphydryas with a broad orange-red band close to the margin of each wing. As with most Euphydryas, the underside is similar to the upperside.

Range: Restricted in range to a few states of the northwestern U.S. and adjacent Canada. It occurs in the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta north to Nordegg, and at Procter Lake and McGillivary, in extreme southeastern British Columbia.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: Euphydryas gillettii differs from the other western checkerspots in having a broad orange-red band along the wing margin.

Early Stages: The mature larva is dingy yellow with a lemon-yellow dorsal stripe and white lateral stripes. The spines are yellow on the back and black on the sides. The usual foodplant is Bracted Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata), but several other plants are occasionally used after hibernation, in the spring.

Abundance: Very localized, but it can be fairly common where it occurs.

Flight Season: This checkerspot has been recorded from mid-June to early August in Alberta.

Habits: Localized to moist meadows, usually near streams, in mountain valleys. The males perch on tall flowers and conifers. They have a weak flight.

Remarks: Gillette's Checkerspot is more closely related to some Asian checkerspots than the other American species.

© 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.