Sagebrush Checkerspot - Chlosyne acastus
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.8-2.4 cm. Uppersurface checkered pale orange (males) to bright orange with black lines and smudges, postmedian bands on wings sometimes red-orange, sometimes orange bands alternate with yellow or red rows; undersurface of hindwing very light, banded with red-orange alternating with large oval spots flat white to pearly white, sharply crescent-edged in black, median band white, submarginal white band with 5 orange spots.
One flight in Colorado, mid-May to mid-June; two flights in the north, June to August; three flights in the south, May to September (Scott 1986). March to May in the south with partial second flight August to October; elsewhere mid-May to mid-July (Glassberg 2001). Late May to late June in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978); mid-April to mid-June in Oregon (Warren 2005); late April to late June in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002); early April to early July in Washington, mid-April to mid-June in Oregon (James and Nunnallee 2011).
Similar to Chlosyne whitneyi (Rockslide Checkerspot); best determined by combination of habitat, undersurface of hindwing very light, banded with red-orange alternating with large oval spots flat white to pearly white, sharply crescent-edged in black, median band white, submarginal white band with 5 orange spots.
Southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan south through parts of the western Dakotas to the western half of Colorado and New Mexico, and extreme northern Mexico; also west through Arizona, Utah, Nevada to eastern California, with small populations in Idaho, Oregon, Washington (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002); 1860 m elevation to at least 2590 m in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978); 427 m elevation to 533 m in Washington (James and Nunnallee 2011); 30 m elevation to 1829 m in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported across the state mostly east of the continental divide, Flathead County the exception (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Mainly common, but locally rare in the northeastern part of range (Glassberg 2001).
Aridlands, sagebrush steppe, sagebrush-juniper woodland, stream beds, oak or pinyon-juniper woodland (Ferris and Brown 1981; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Pine woodland and canyons at lower elevations in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).
Larval food plants include Acamptopappus, Chrysothamnus, Erigeron, Eucephalus, Machaeranthera, and Symphyotrichum (Scott and Scott 1978; Scott 1986, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (many species, including Chrysothamnus, Erysimum, Prunus, Schoenocrambe) and mud (Warren 2005; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs in clusters on the undersides of host plant leaves, sometimes on flower buds, sometimes on inert surfaces nearby (Scott 1986, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 6 days (depending on temperature). L1 and L2 instars last about 6 days each, L3 instar leaves host plant and diapauses about 30 days post egg-hatch; L4 instar sometimes reached about 19 days post egg-hatch, molt to L5 in about 6 days, and diapause as L5 instar. Pupation by L5 instar occurs in about 11 days, adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about 18 days. L1 and L2 instars gregarious, build only thin silk nest; postdiapause larvae solitary, feed during day, rest openly (James and Nunnallee 2011). Males territorial, perch and sometimes patrol throughout the day in dry washes, gullies, paths and trails, seeking females (Scott 1975; James and Nunnallee 2011).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D.M. and J.A. Pritchard. 2002. A field guide to the butterflies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Lanham, MD: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. 107 p.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
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