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Gorgone Checker Spot (Chlosyne gorgone)


Overview

Overview

Gorgone checker spot (Chlosyne gorgone), a State Special Concern butterfly, is found in barrens, dry fields and prairies, sandy ridges, glades in woodlands, and open pine forests. This species has two flight periods, one from late May through June and again in early August to early September.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Gorgone Checker Spot (Chlosyne gorgone). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Chlosyne gorgone in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was originally presented as part of the Online Field Guide to Rare Lepidoptera: Bogs and Barrens.

Identification: The wings above are orange with black markings; hindwing with submarginal row of solid black spots. The underside of the hindwings are silvery gray covered with distinctive, strongly contrasting zigzag bands of brown and white. The undersides of the hindwings must be examined for identification of species. The wildly zigzag pattern of the ventral hindwing is distinctive. Wingspan: 27-38mm. Length of forewing: 15-19 mm. Larvae are orange with a black head, black longitudinal stripes, and black spines.

Similar Species: The three Wisconsin species of crescents (Phyciodes spp.) are similarly orange and black above, but have yellowish to yellowish-brown ventral hindwings. The hindwing below of the silvery checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) has a wider and more even silver medial band. The ventral hindwing of Harris' checkerspot (C. harrisii) has a wider, more even silver median band and a prominent orange band along the outer margin. Both of these checkerspots inhabit moist areas.

Habitat: Barrens, dry fields and prairies, sandy ridges, glades in woodlands, and open pine forests.

Nectar Source: Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and probably hostplant flowers.

Host Plant: Plants in the aster family (Asteraceae) especially Helianthus, Aster, and Silphium species. Larvae were found on black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) in Waushara County, and on pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida) in Grant County (Williams, 1995). Also observed on prairie sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris) in Illinois (Nielsen, 1999).

Associated Species: May be found early with Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) and frosted elfin (Callophrys irus) butterflies in the jack pine barrens.

State Distribution: The Gorgone Checkerspot is a vagrant species prone to establishing short-lived colonies in far-flung areas (Brock and Kaufman 2003). It appears to come and go in many areas of Wisconsin, but seems to regularly occur in the barrens of Burnett and Jackson Counties. The species was discovered quite recently in some of the eastern Wisconsin stations and remains uncommon in those areas. Adams, Burnett, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Outagamie, Polk, Portage, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Trempealeau, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood Counties.

Global Distribution: A Great Plains species. Alberta east to southern Ontario in Canada, south to Texas, Lousiana, and central Georgia. Scattered populations in the Appalachians and Rocky Mountains.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Habitat loss due to woody species and forest encroachment. Since it is unknown where the larvae overwinter, overwintering immatures may be exposed and vulnerable to being killed by fire.

Phenology: Two flights from late May through June and again in early August to early September.

Life and Natural History: Females lay eggs in clusters on underside of hostplant leaves. Larvae typically feed gregariously on the undersurface of leaves. Most of the spring larvae go into diapause but some continue to mature to form the second generation of adults about six weeks later (Layberry 1998). Third stage larvae hibernate. A species with moderate remnant-dependence (Panzer et al. 1995).

Survey Guidelines: Males will patrol and perch on the host plants. Search hilltops within the habitat. Also watch for aggregations of spiny black larvae on yellow-flowered asters. These should be reared to the adult stage for verification.

Inventory, Monitoring and Research Needs: Locate additional populations and monitor known sites, particularly those managed with fire.

Management Guidelines: Sites managed with fire should contain refugia as a necessary precaution to protect the entire insect component of the site.

Photos/Video

Photos


Gorgone Checker Spot

Gorgone Checker Spot, Jackson County.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Gorgone Checker Spot

Gorgone Checker Spot, above.

Photo © Ann Swengel.

Gorgone Checker Spot

Gorgone Checker Spot, Jackson County.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Gorgone Checker Spot

Gorgone Checkerspot, below.

Photo © Ann Swengel.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Gorgone Checker Spot. Only natural communities for which Gorgone Checker Spot is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Pine Barrens 3
Dry Prairie 2
Oak Barrens 2
Sand Barrens 2

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Gorgone Checker Spot. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Gorgone Checker Spot occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.


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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.


* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, August 22, 2019