The Checkerspot Butterfly Request for Funding Did You Know…

• The Checkerspot butterfly Named the official Maryland State insect in
• Their family and subfamily is Nymphalinae
• Their Eggs are laid in groups of 100-700
• There is one generation a year of the Checkerspot butterfly and they
usually fly between early June and early July.
• Named after the first Lord Baltimore!
•Live from 6-10 months
• Are poisonous.
The lifecycle of a checkerspot butterfly starts 10 days after they are
laid. They hatch as larvae from eggs. As the larvae grow for about three
more weeks, they shed their skin about three times. The larvae are in a
period of dormancy for the summer months, hiding in dark places such
as in cracks in soil. One of the primary food sources, the dwarf plantain
starts to grow in the next rainy season. The larvae resume development
and continue eating. The larvae enter the pupa stage and create a
chrysalis once they are fully grown. They appear again as butterflies in
march or early April. The checkerspot butterflies then drink on nectar,
mate, and lay eggs. Females can have up to five masses of eggs of up to
250 eggs. They have their eggs in their host plant, a white turtlehead, and
after that the whole cycle starts over again.
Their wing span ranges from 1 ¾
inches to 2 ¾ inches (4.5-7 cm.)
The upper side of their wings is black
with orange-red crescents and rows
of creamy white spots inside. This is
warning coloring.
It has short hairy forelegs that show
that this butterfly is an insect in the
Nymphalidae family (Brush-footed
= Host Plant
What does this butterfly eat?
 White Turtlehead
 Hairy beardtongue
 English plantain
 False foxglove
 Arrowwood
 Common Lousewort
 Japanese honeysuckle
 White Ash
Blue bird
Cotton tail rabbit
White Turtle Head
Checkerspot butterfly
Baltimore oriel
Hairy Beardtongue
Main plants, there are more. Check food slide.
English Plantain
They have competition for the White
Turtlehead, such as the cottontail rabbit, deer,
and Baltimore Oriel.
Their predators are wasps, and birds.
The population of these butterflies has been slowly decreasing since
the 1980s. It was recorded to be in 15 Maryland counties but now only five.
Theories for the declination of the Checkerspot Butterfly:
• Over-consumption of the butterfly’s main food source, the White Turtlehead
•The Global Warming Action Alliance , a group that tells people about
climate change, say that “warmer temperatures have forced about 80%
of all Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies northward up to 50 miles in the
last 25 years.” As the species migrates northward, the plants that are
dependent on it will not come with them. This takes away the home,
family and nutrition of the butterfly.”
Our suggested habitat for this butterfly is the Little Bennet
Regional Park. This is because it has a stream and is has many
meadows/ clearings, the two things that are required in a
Checkerspot Butterfly’s habitat. This park is 3,700 acres, but we
would only use a small portion of the park and make it accessible
for people to go an see these magnificent butterflies. The
Checkerspot Butterflies are not bothered by people because they
are poisonous, so they are not afraid of potential predators. Teens
would be able to earn SSL hours by helping set up the area and
helping care for the butterflies. There would be a small, low fence
around the area so big predators couldn’t get in but the butterflies
could fly out. Checkerspot butterflies prefer to be outside. We are
also planting many of the butterfly’s food sources, such as White
Turtlehead, Hairy beardtongue, Japanese honeysuckle, etc. Also,
we would build a man-made pond in the area, and there would be
dirt paths leading to different places. We would make sure the
conservational area looked nice but wasn’t over developed.
We predict that the Checkerspot butterflies impact on Little
Bennet Regional Park will be small because we will introduce the
butterfly into a closed in habitat and would keep competition in
the habitat to make sure the butterflies wouldn’t overpopulate.
This plan will help the butterflies because we will plant plenty of
White Turtle Head , their host plant, so they wouldn’t have to go
far to find it. This area is a bit swampy and meadow – like , so
the temperature is perfect for these butterflies. Also, the fenced in
area will only be a small potion of Little Bennet Regional Park , so
many of the plants and animals wouldn’t be impacted anyway.
Abiotic Factors- Benches, Dirt pathways,
Water, damp/ warmish climate, and Sunlight
Biotic Factors- Trees, Grass, White Turtlehead,
Hairy beardtongue, English plantain, False
foxglove, Arrowwood, Common Lousewort,
Japanese honeysuckle, White Ash, Deer,
Cottontail Rabbit, Baltimore Oriels, Shrubs,
Bushes, and the Checkerspot butterflies.
The worst case scenario that could happen from
introducing the Checkerspot butterfly to Little Bennet
Regional park is one of two things. The first one is
that if the fence works, the Checkerspot butterfly
could over-populate and the other things that eat
white Turtle head and the other plants would start to
die off. Another thing that could happen would be
that the Checkerspot butterflies could be beat out by
their competition and wouldn’t survive. Still, we
would introduce competition to keep a healthy
balance between the two.

similar documents