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Butterfly - Chlosyne hoffmanni - female

Butterfly - Chlosyne hoffmanni - Female
Esmerelda Basin Trail, Kittitas County, Washington, USA
August 11, 2012
I'm thinking this might be a Hoffman's Checkerspot.

Images of this individual: tag all
Butterfly - Chlosyne hoffmanni - female Butterfly - Chlosyne hoffmanni - female

We'll go with Hoffmann's
Sorry about jumping the gun on this one. I agree that C. hoffmanni is a better fit, and I should have looked more closely at the map, as well as the photographs. It did not bring Hoffmann's to mind when I first looked at it, and I took for granted what it was. I'd like to claim that I never goof, but then I'd be a liar :0)

As for flight dates though, it depends somewhat on the location and climate (and the year); C. acastus is capable of producing a 2nd late summer brood as well as a spring/early summer brood. I'm not sure if it ever does in Washington. Also, the species is not restricted to Sagebrush habitats, though it does seem to strongly favor them (or at least similar). It can also be found in certain (usually open) wooded environments as well. C. acastus seems to use a variety of host plants, probably all in the Aster tribe, but ranging from Aster and Machaeranthera to Chrysothamnus. I'm not sure how strict it is about which plant species it uses in a given region though.

Moved from Chlosyne acastus.

In Pyle,
Butterflies of Cascadia, he does not show Chlosyne acastus as occuring in Washington, and we were in the Cascade mountains, not sagebrush. Is this a noteworthy sighting?

Dan and David -
I think that C. hoffmanni is a better fit, for this area the Cascadian C. h. manchada, using a photo taken just to the north in neighboring Chelan County. Larval host plants are asters, including Eucephalus ledophyllus, and Eurybia conspicua (in bloom ~ July - August).
Not only does the overall wing pattern match the present photos better - considering this a somewhat worn specimen -, but the flight period and location works. C. hoffmanni flies from early May to early September (Pyle, 2002), whereas C. acastus flies late April to late June (Pyle, 2002). James & Nunnallee report adults of the latter species for ~ April 20 to ~ May 10 at Schnebly Coulee, Kittitas County, "matching growth of the host plant, Erigeron linearis..." (1). In other areas acastus uses other host plants. By the way, their study is a must for butterfly fans Washington and adjacent areas!

Loaded question
C. acastus is definitely in eastern Washington, but it has been confused with C. palla there, and the naming is in a bit of a confused state. On the other hand, I could have jumped to a conclusion and misidentified this thing. It could just be a faded specimen of something else. I'll look at it more closely shortly. I suspect that the error is indeed mine.

female Acastus Checkerspot
Moved from ID Request.

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