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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Anicia Checkerspot - Euphydryas anicia

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981, Scott 1986, Glassberg 2001, Guppy and Shepard 2001] Forewing 1.6-2.6 cm. Very similar in appearance to the Variegated (= Chalcedon or Variable) Checkerspot (E. chaldedona); considered by some to be a subspecies of that species. The harpe of the male genitalia is the only reliable character for identifying the species (the dorsal arm is longer than that of any other Euphydryas species, and the two arms are almost parallel). Compound eyes brown; antennal clubs luminous yellow with little if any black at base; forewings pointed; outer margin of hindwing comes to a slight point; abdomen often with white subdorsal (off-center) spots; dorsal surface of wings reddish with varying yellow and black bands (more black at higher elevations).

One flight per year; June to early July in montane regions, mostly July at and above treeline (Scott 1986); late May to early July at low elevations in British Columbia, early July to mid-August above treeline (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Brown compound eyes segregates Euphydryas from other checkerspot genera; larger with forewing tips more pointed than E. editha, which also lacks the off-center white abdominal spots and usually has black on the lower half of the antennal clubs; lacks the wide submarginal red-orange band of E. gillettii. The harpe of the male genitalia is the only reliable character for distinguishing E. anicia from E. chalcedona (the dorasal arm is longer than that of any other Euphydryas species, and the two arms are almost parallel); also the ventral forewing generally lacks a noticeable black band (accent) on the inner side of the postmedian row of apical white patches present on E. chalcedona.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Central Alaska south to central California, Arizona, and New Mexico west of the Great Plains, and extreme northern Mexico. Also to the Black Hills of South Dakota (Scott 1986, Glassberg 2001, Guppy and Shepard 2001). Considered common to abundant.

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 3

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Occurs at almost any elevation; in shrub-steppe, grasslands, dry conifer forest and edges, aspen parkland, canyons, montane openings, alpine tundra, mountain summits (Scott 1986, Guppy and Shepard 2001, James and Nunnallee 2011). Xeric and measic meadows, and above treeline in alpine habitat in Glacier National Park (Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Larvae food plants include Besseya, Castilleja, Mertensia, Orthocarpus, Pedicularis, Penstemon, Plantago, and Symphoricarpos, with Collinsia in spring by overwintered larvae (Scott 1986, James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults of both sexes visit flowers for nectar, adult males also visit mud puddles.

Reproductive Characteristics
Overwintered larvae (stages L3-5) appear as early as late March and as late as late June in Washington. Eggs laid in mid August hatch in about 12 days and develop to L3 larvae in about 14 days. Number of eggs per ovariole (1/8 of total) about 150 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1978). Adults eclose about 12 days after pupation. Larvae overwinter at L3 instar, often in web nests on host plants, but also under rocks or litter. Larvae may diapause (overwinter) more than one year if conditions very cold or very dry. Post diapause larvae solitary, do not build nests, and feed openly on host plants. Adult males seek females throughout the day by patrolling all over habitat and/or perching especially on hilltops and exposed vegetation in clearings (Scott 1986, Guppy and Shepard 2001, James and Nunnallee 2011).

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Citation for data on this website:
Anicia Checkerspot — Euphydryas anicia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from