Maryland State Insect
Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly (common name)
Euphydryas phaeton (scientific name)
The Baltimore checkerspot has been Maryland’s state insect since 1973. The butterfly is black with bright orange crescents along the outer edges of both wings and has rows of cream-colored dots all along its wings. The exact pattern varies depending on the butterfly’s habitat, but the rows of bright spots contrast strongly with the wings’ dark background and from a distance create the checker effect that gives the butterfly its common name.
Wingspan: 1 3/4–2 3/4 in (4.5–7 cm).
Larvae: Orange-red with black stripes and spines across the body.
Bogs, marshes, and other moist, open areas in the northeastern portion of its range; dry open or wooded hillsides in the southern and western portions of its range.
Range: From Nova Scotia westwards into southeastern Manitoba and southwards into northern Georgia and Mississippi as well as northeastern Oklahoma. Isolated occurrences in northeastern Texas and Nebraska.
Flight period: June to August in its northern range, May to June in its southern range.
Conservation status: Isolated regional populations may be on the decline, but overall not threatened.
Adults: Males sit near the ground to wait for females. Females then lay one batch of 100–700 eggs on the underside of a host plant’s leaves.
Larva: Caterpillars generally remain on their host plant, but many die either by falling off the plant or because of parasitic wasps. The caterpillars spin a web together, under which they stay and feed on the host’s leaves. In winter, they roll themselves in dried leaves and overwinter as caterpillars. In spring, they sometimes migrate to other plants to create pupae.
Adults: Flower nectar from milkweed, viburnum, and wild roses.
Larvae: Host plant leaves, most often turtlehead but sometimes hairy beardtongue, English plantain, or false foxglove.
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|Author: World Trade Press|