Harris's Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii) (Scudder, 1864)
Diagnosis: This is a typical checkerspot (wingspan: 30 to 41 mm), with an orange and black upperside pattern. The male is darker than the female, which appears more orange. The underside of the hindwings has a distinctive checkered appearance resulting from orange bands alternating with white spot bands.
Subspecies: All three subspecies occur in Canada. The subspecies in the Maritime Provinces is subspecies albimontana, which has reduced dark markings on the upperside. The nominate subspecies is found from southern Quebec west to southeastern Manitoba, and subspecies hanhami is found in the rest of the Manitoba range and into Saskatchewan.
Range: Harris's Checkerspot is mainly a butterfly of southeastern Canada and northeastern U.S. The range, in Canada, runs in a band from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, along the St. Lawrence River, and north of Lake Huron as far as Kirkland Lake and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; it is also known from northwestern Ontario. It is widespread in southern Manitoba north to Cowan and in southeastern Saskatchewan.
Similar Species: The orange and black pattern of the hindwing underside is diagnostic.
Early Stages: The orange-red larvae have a black dorsal stripe and several black cross stripes on each segment; the head and branching spines are black. They feed on Flat-topped White Aster (Aster umbellatus).
Abundance: A very local species, but it is often common within the colonies. The butterflies rarely stray far from the plants.
Flight Season: The single generation flies mainly in June in Canada, with some stragglers in July.
Habits: Harris's Checkerspot is a species of wet meadows where the foodplants can be found. They are not strong fliers and alight regularly on low shrubs and on flowers to nectar.
© 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.
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