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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Rockslide Checkerspot - Chlosyne whitneyi
Other Names:  Damoetus Checkerspot

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S3S5

Agency Status

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.7-2.1 cm. Uppersurface checkered dingy red-orange and black with bluish sheen, dusky at base (females more boldly marked); undersurface checkered orange, white (not off-white) median band.

One flight; July to early August (Scott 1986); July to August (Glassberg 2001). July and August in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981); mid-July to early August, sometimes to early September in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Similar in appearance to Chlosyne palla (Northern Checkerspot) and C. acastus (Sagebrush Checkerspot). Undersurface hindwing median band white helps; best determined by habitat.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
South central British Columbia and extreme western Alberta south in the Rocky Mountains to northeastern Utah and southern Colorado; an isolated population in the Sierra Nevada of California (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); between 3352 m and at least 3962 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978); above 3352 m elevation in California (Garth and Tilden 1963). In Montana, reported from Flathead, Glacier and Pondera counties near the Canadian border and Carbon County near the Wyoming border (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).


Alpine rockslides, scree slopes, talus slopes, fell-field, rocky benches at and above treeline (Garth and Tilden 1963; Ferris and Brown 1981; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Erigeron and Solidago (Scott 1986, 1992). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Arnica, Erigeron, Haplopappus, Polygonum, Potentilla, Senecio, Silene, Wyethia) and mud (Scott 1986, 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs in clusters (up to 63 eggs) on the underside of host plant leaves, sometimes on flower buds. Young larvae gregarious, build no nests, overwinter under rocks first as "young" larvae (L1 or L2 instar?), again as L3-L4 instars, perhaps a third winter as L5 instar, pupate under rocks (Scott and Scott 1978; Scott 1979, 1986, 1992). Males perch throughout the day in rockslides, rocky hollows, rock chutes, road cuts across rock slides, awaiting passing females; sometimes patrol much of the day over rockslides near host plant in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1982, 1986).

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