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Baltimore Checkerspot
E. phaeton on Argyranthemum
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Euphydryas
Species: E. phaeton
Binomial name
Euphydryas phaeton
(Drury, 1773)
Adult, Ottawa, Ontario

The Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) is a North American butterfly of the family, Nymphalidae. It is the official state insect of the U.S. State of Maryland since 1973.[1]


During its period of growth, the Checkerspot Butterfly will search for a host plant for nourishment. Its native larval host is the turtlehead (Chelone glabra), but it has also to some extent made use of the introduced lawn weed English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)[2] and other plants.[3]

Unlike most butterflies and moths, which overwinter as eggs, pupae, or sometimes adults, the Baltimore Checkerspot overwinters as larvae. In late summer (sometime in July through September depending on latitude, weather, and other factors) the larvae spin a pre-hibernation web on a plant, stop feeding, and remain in the web. Several months later they leave this web and enter the litter (dead grass and leaves and so on) on the ground, where they spend the winter.[4]


  1. ^ "Maryland State Insect — Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly". Maryland State Archives. 2004-06-17.  
  2. ^ M. Deane Bowers, Nancy E. Stamp and Sharon K. Collinge (Apr 1992), "Early Stage of Host Range Expansion by a Specialist Herbivore, Euphydryas Phaeton (Nymphalidae)", Ecology 73 (2): 526–536, doi:10.2307/1940758  
  3. ^ Euphydryas phaeton (Drury, 1773), Butterflies and Moths of North America
  4. ^ M. Deane Bowers (1978), "Over-wintering behavior in Euphydryas phaeton (Nymphalidae)", Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 32 (4): 282–288,  


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