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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Gorgone Checkerspot - Chlosyne gorgone

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.5-2.0 cm. Upperwing surface a mixture of orange and black patches and spots, with wide black forewing borders and pronounced white chevrons in hindwing black border; underwing surface of hindwing with median band of whitish arrowheads (scallops) and alternating zigzag brownish-gray and white bands.

Variable. One flight, mid-May to early July in Colorado mountains and Canada; two flights, June-August in North Dakota and Wisconsin; several flights late April to mid-September across the plains and southward (Scott 1986). May to early July in one-flight areas, May to August in two-flight areas, April to October in three-flight areas (Glassberg 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by the underwing surface of hindwings with median band of whitish arrowheads (scallops) and alternating zigzag brownish-gray and white bands.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Central Alberta east to southwestern Manitoba and southern Ontario, south through most of the central US, and south in the west to central New Mexico and Texas, with isolated populations in central Idaho and northern Utah (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001); to 3048 m elevation (Brown 1957). In Montana, predominantly east of the mountains (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Common (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



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


Prairie, grasslands, old fields, railroad tracks and roadsides, ponderosa pine woodlands, hardwood forests (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001). In Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states, plains, chaparral, foothills, moist montane meadows, often along streams (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Ambrosia, Helianthus (several species), Iva, Viguiera, and Xanthium (Scott 1986, 1992). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Allium, Antennaria, Apocynum, Arnica, Aster, Barbarea, Bidens, Buddleja, Ceanothus, Cerastium, Chrysanthemum, Cirsium, Cleome, Crepis, Erigeron, Erysimum, Gaillardia, Helianthus, Heracleum, Heterotheca, Jamesia, Lesquerella, Malva, Medicago, Monarda, Phacelia, Physocarpus, Polygonum, Potentilla, Prunus, Ranunculus, Rhus, Rubus, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Taraxacum, Thalictrum, Thlaspi, Verbesina), dung, and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs in clusters on the undersides of host plant leaves, up to 210 eggs per cluster. Larvae migrate to tops of leaves where they remain in clusters but build no nests. Diapause (overwinter) as L3 instar (Scott 1986, 1992; Pyle 2002). Males perch (infrequently patrol) throughout the day on hilltops near host plants while awaiting females; on hillsides males patrol (infrequently perch) (Scott 1975b, 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Gorgone Checkerspot — Chlosyne gorgone.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from