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Edith's Checkerspot - Euphydryas editha


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001, Pyle 2002] Forearm 1.3-2.1 cm. Most easily separated by the processes of the male genetalia, one clubbed the other tapered, making great than 90 degree angle with respect to each other. Forewing usually rounded, abdomen without white off-center (subdorsal) spots, lower half of antennae clubs with much black; dorsal surface a combination of red, black, and cream bands and checkers; ventral surface of forewing with postmedian cream spot along lower edge with heavier black scaling on basal (inner) side, hindwing postmedian orange band often extends into median cream band; pale ventral hindwing median band sometimes narrow so that black line outward of band separates two reddish areas (bands).

Phenology
One flight; March and April on the California coast, June in the Great Basin, late June to early August above treeline (Scott 1986); May to early August in the Rocky Mountains (Ferris and Brown 1981); early April to late August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best separated by the processes of the male genitalia, one clubbed the other tapered, making great than 90 degree angle with respect to each other. Also useful are a combination of forewing usually rounded, abdomen without white off-center (subdorsal) spots, lower half of antennae clubs with much black, ventral surface of forewing with postmedian cream spot along lower edge with heavier black scaling on basal (inner) side.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
West of the Great Plains, from southern British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains of Alberta south to northern Baja California, southern Utah, and southern Colorado (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001). In Montana, reported from the western two-thirds of the state (Kohler 1980, Stanford and Opler 1993). Generally locally rare to uncommon, common at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada of California (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory. Adults may move up to 10 km, but average movements to about 200 m (Scott 1986).

Habitat
Chaparral, coastal prairie, sagebrush steppe, high ridges, open woodlands and montane meadows, above treeline in alpine tundra and fellfield (Ehrlich and Wheye 1984; Scott 1986; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011); to at least 2440 m elevation in Oregon and Washington, to 3300 m elevation in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. In Montana, reported from above treeline in the Beartooth Mountains and Glacier National Park, and many other localities where the habitat not described (Kohler 1980; Hendricks 1986; Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Castilleja, Collinsia, Lonicera, Mimulus, Orthocarpos, Pedicularis, Penstemon, Plantago, Plectritis, and Valerianella. Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Agoseris, Allium, Erigeron, Eriodictyon, Erioganum, Lesquerella, Lomatium, Mimulus, Pseudocymopterus, Senecio, Taraxacum, Wyethia) (Ferris and Brown 1981; Ehrlich and Wheye 1984; Scott 1986, 2014; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs in clusters of 20-350, up to 1200 eggs in a lifetime. Number of eggs per ovariole (1/8 of total) about 170 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1978). Eggs laid on the undersides of host leaves or flower inflorescences. Eggs hatch in about 8-9 days (depending on temperature). Larvae live in loose silk webs during the first three instars (L1-L3). Development from L1-L4 takes about 30 days; L3 and L4 instars hibernate (diapause), often under stones or curled leaves. After diapause is broken, L4 reach L5 in about 14 days, pupating a few days later (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males seeking females patrol and perch throughout the day on ridge crests and hilltops, sometimes perch on shrubs (Scott 1975b, 1986); adults live about 7 days on average.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Edith's Checkerspot — Euphydryas editha.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from