Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus) (W.H. Edwards, 1874)

Diagnosis: This checkerspot is similar to the preceding species. The upper side is orange and black with the "spider web" pattern. The pale bands on the hindwing underside are white rather than creamy yellow, and the dark bands are paler orange red, rather than the brighter red of palla. The females are similar to males or slightly paler. Wingspan: 33 to 44 mm.

Subspecies: Only the nominate subspecies is found in Canada.

Range: A butterfly of the western U.S. east to Nebraska, the Sagebrush Checkerspot occurs in Canada in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is found in badland areas only, particularly the Red Deer River Valley. Previous records of the Northern Checkerspot (C. palla) in sagebrush areas of Saskatchewan are this species.

Specimen collection data


Similar Species: The Sagebrush and the Damoetas Checkerspot (C. acastus and C. damoetas) can be distinguished from the Northern Checkerspot and Hoffmann's Checkerspot (C. palla and hoffmanni) by the white, rather than pale yellow, bands on the hindwing underside. Chlosyne damoetas is much darker than acastus and has a greasy appearance. The Sagebrush Checkerspot occurs in arid areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan east of the range of the other three species. [compare images]

Early Stages: The black, heavily spined larva has cream-coloured dots and orange crescents. The foodplants are Rabbit-brush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) and desert-aster (Machaeranthera spp.).

Abundance: Localized to badlands and sagebrush areas in Canada, the Sagebrush Checkerspot is not common.

Flight Season: In Canada, the Sagebrush Checkerspot is on the wing from May to early September.

Habits: Look for this species in dry, hot, badland canyons, where it basks in the sun with wings spread. There is usually sagebrush scrub in the vicinity.

© 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.