Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Theona Checkerspot
Chlosyne theona (Ménétriés, 1855)


Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Nymphalinae
Identification: Upperside with dark checkered pattern. Black median stripe separates inner yellow-orange band and outer orange band. Underside of hindwing has alternating bands of orange and cream spots, all outlined in black.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 inches (3.2 - 4.4 cm).
Life History: Males patrol and sometimes perch to find females. Eggs are laid in groups on the host plant; caterpillars feed on the leaves. Third- or fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: Several flights from April-October in the Southwest, throughout the year in the tropics.
Caterpillar Hosts: Ceniza blanca (Leucophyllum texanum and L. frutescens) in Texas, paintbrush (Castilleja species) in Arizona.
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Desert foothills and canyons, subtropical scrub, limestone ridges, open oak or pinyon woodlands.
Range: Colombia north through Central America and Mexico to east-central Texas, southern New Mexico, and central Arizona.
Conservation: Not usually of concern.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported. Note: Subspecies chinatiensis, the Chinati Checkerspot, is considered a separate species by some, but it blends completely to more typical theona.
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Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.