Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in NYMPHALIDAE:
<<       >>
Common NameBaltimore Checkerspot by Wayne Forsythe => Henderson Co., 2008-06-03
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameEuphydryas phaeton
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Restricted to the mountains in NC, with 15 county records, ranging from the VA border to the GA border.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Rare, though it can be locally numerous (there are several one-day counts of 24 or more). If it is mainly restricted to bogs and wet meadows, it is also very habitat-restricted. If it also occurs in upland forests, as it does in GA, it is not as restricted as formerly believed.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: A single brood. At lower elevations (at least in the southern counties) the flight begins around mid-May, but in the higher elevations the flight doesn't begin until late June. The flight lasts about a month at any place, with the high elevation sites finishing around mid- to late July. There was a shocking report of two adults seen in Watauga County on March 12, 2012, likely owing to the very warm spring weather.
HabitatHABITAT: In the southern Appalachians, the species inhabits two very different habitats. From NC northward, it typically occurs in bogs and wet meadows where considerable turtleheads (Chelone spp.) are present. However, in GA it has been reported only in upland forests, presumably near yellow false-foxgloves (Aureolaria spp.). It has been recorded from all three mountain counties in SC, plus in the foothills in neighboring Spartanburg County; bogs are very rare in these counties, and I suspect the butterflies might have been from upland places. Most NC records come from bogs/wet meadows, at least in the northern mountains. However, I saw one in a clearcut on a ridge in June 1994, and in a high elevation meadow in July 1995.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Broadleaf Herbaceous Mires
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The primary foodplants in NC are turtleheads (Chelone spp.), of which there are four species. Three are restricted to bogs, wet meadows, etc., but Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) is also found in seeps and other damp spots on forested slopes. Yellow false-foxgloves (Aureolaria spp.) are usually found on dry to mesic wooded areas and are suspected foodplants in GA and in the Ozarks. Interestingly, the weedy plantains (Plantago spp.) are foodplants in some northern states. The population near Roan Mountain in Avery County might be using this genus, as butterfliers cannot locate any species of turtleheads or yellow false-foxgloves (whereas plantains are probably present, but easily overlooked along roadsides). Nectar plants are varied, and the adults also feed at carrion, mud, and other places.
CommentsCOMMENTS: Much is still to be learned about this beautiful species in NC. Some people suspect that the upland populations might be a different subspecies or even species. Finding the Baltimore Checkerspot in NC generally requires searching in bogs, most of which are on private property. The species thus is somewhat colonial, and certainly restricted in habitat. Of major interest was the counting of 24 Baltimore Checkerspots in two high-elevation meadows near Roan Mountain in early July 1996 by Derb Carter, Jeff Pippen, and me. This population seems to have crashed in recent years. Are butterflies being collected out, or are some other factors involved, such as deer-browse on the foodplants (as the habitat and other butterfly species are present in usual condition/numbers)? Other observers found two large colonies, at new sites, in the southern mountains in 2004. Both were in bogs or marshy, open wetlands, as opposed to uplands. Pippen found the largest colony ever reported in the state at a site in Haywood County in 2009; most individuals were seen on a dirt road, where they could be easily observed and photographed, but (sadly) could also be easily run over by vehicles or be collected.
State RankS2
State StatusSR
Global RankG4
Federal Status
Synonym
Other NameBaltimore


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Baltimore Checkerspot
Photo by: Larry Lynch
Comment: Maryland, June 18, 2005
Baltimore Checkerspot - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Larry Lynch
Comment: Maryland, June 18, 2005
Baltimore Checkerspot - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Wayne Forsythe
Comment: Henderson Co., 2008-Jun-04
Baltimore Checkerspot - Click to enlarge