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Baltimore Checkerspot Larvae Feeding On Turtlehead

Baltimore checkerspot larvaeAt this time of year, just as Turtlehead is flowering, a butterfly known as the Baltimore Checkerspot is mating and laying bright red eggs on the underside of Turtlehead’s leaves. This is the only plant on which Baltimore Checkerspot eggs are laid, and the only plant which the larvae eat. When the eggs hatch, the tiny larvae proceed to spin a web that envelopes them and the leaves of the Turtlehead plant that they are eating. They eat profusely, enlarging the web as they expand the area to include uneaten leaves. Eventually, as fall approaches, they will spin a pre-hibernation web where they remain until late fall when they migrate down into the leaf litter. While most butterflies and moths overwinter as eggs or pupae, the Baltimore Checkerspot remains in its larval stage until spring, when it forms a chrysalis, pupates and emerges as an adult butterfly.

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4 responses

  1. Kate

    Thank you so much for this, now I will be happy to see the chelone eaten!

    August 25, 2015 at 8:03 am

  2. Robert Reeve

    Not so pretty caterpillars make awfully pretty butterflies!

    August 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

  3. Robert Reeve

    Apologize for message..which was intended for person who doesn’t like caterpillars!

    August 25, 2015 at 8:17 am

  4. Kathryn

    Kinda creepy looking little worms for a very pretty butterfly!

    August 25, 2015 at 10:02 am

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