Hoffmann's Checkerspot (Chlosyne hoffmanni) (Behr, 1863)

Diagnosis: The upperside of this small to medium-sized (wingspan: 30 to 36 mm) checkerspot is patterned with dark brown, light orange, and tawny, similar to the Northern Checkerspot (C. palla), except that the two rows of pale spots just beyond the middle of the forewing above tend to be fused together, a condition only rarely seen in Chlosyne palla. The underside of the hindwing has alternating brick-red and cream bands. Some variants of palla are very similar to hoffmanni in appearance, but the male genitalia are distinct.

Subspecies: The subspecies manchada is found in Canada.

Range: This butterfly has a very restricted range compared to most checker spots. It occurs in a long, narrow band along the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains in the U.S., and into the Manning Park area of southern British Columbia.

Similar Species: The Canadian subspecies (manchada) is very similar to the Northern Checkerspot (C. palla) and can only be positively identified by the male genitalia. A spine-tipped process on the end of the valve can be observed by removing the scales from the end of the abdomen with a small brush. In hoffmanni this process is short, almost teardrop-shaped, but in palla it is long and boomerang-shaped. [compare images]

Early Stages: The black larvae have white spots and cream-coloured lines. They feed on asters (Aster spp.).

Abundance: Rare; known in Canada only from a few colonies in the Cascade Mountains east of Hope, British Columbia.

Flight Season: Adults fly in southern British Columbia in June and early July.

Habits: This is a butterfly of moist habitats, such as meadows and valleys, at middle elevations in mountainous areas.

© 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.