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Gorgone checkerspot caterpillar - Chlosyne gorgone

Gorgone checkerspot caterpillar - Chlosyne gorgone
H. E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area, Charleston, Franklin County, Arkansas, USA
May 29, 2013
Caterpillars on prairie coneflowers.


Based upon a recent sighting,
I believe this is a Gorgone caterpillar. I observed a Gorgone checkerspot adult, based upon arrowhead markings below, about 10 miles west of the cat sighting so the adults are in the area. I will submit the adult to BG for confirmation.

I'll at least put this critter under the genus for now.
If it is C. nycteis, it is an interesting color form record.
If it is C. gorgone, it is an interesting record, period.

Moved from ID Request.

Do you see Gorgone Checkerspots in the same area?
I've never seen an orange form caterpillar of C. nycteis myself, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. They are common in C. gorgone though. However, those usually favor Sunflower as food (but I think they will use a lot of different broad-leaved Composites).

Gorgone checkerspots are in the area.
I had three separate sighting in the region during the month of June and one sighting was two weeks after the caterpillar at the same site.
Thus I will move the caterpillar to species.

This prairie area is at the limit
for Gorgone so I thought Silvery since I have seen many recently. But after reviewing cats on BuGGuide, you are right on again. Looks like Gorgone checkerspot cat yet I'm certain that the host plant was coneflowers since it was in bloom and obvious.
Since I still would like a sighting of a Gorgone adult, I'm heading back to the area as soon as the weather permits.
Thanks again for your help.

Gorgone Checkerspot
When we had populations of Gorgone checkerspot in e. Ontario a few years back, Cliff, the host here was black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia. They were only found in large fields with extensive patches of the host plant.

I'm not sure what all are recorded as host plants, but
these caterpillars will feed on a number of Composites; however, they definitely favor certain ones over others. Helianthus (assorted species) is perhaps the top favorite, but others include [i]Verbesina species, Viguiera species, Rudbeckia, Iva xanthifolia, Ambrosia trifida, Palafoxia species, etc.

Lysimachia is reported, but I suspect it was a mistaken I.D. for a similar looking yellow-flowering Composite, or perhaps the genus name got mixed up with another.

In fact, they favor the same plants as C. lacinia, which is probably C. gorgone's closest relative (even though the adults look quite different).

Coneflowers are pretty closely related to sunflowers, so I wouldn't be suprised. Many caterpillars favor plants from related families, and will consume many in that group.

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