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Prairie Species Habitat Conservation Plan – Taylor’s Checkerspot

Euphydryas editha taylori


Taylor’s checkerspot was classified as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection in 2001 (read more). This butterfly is currently known to survive in 13 populations.


Taylor’s checkerspot is a member of the Nymphalidae family, and is a sub-species of Edith’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha). It is a medium sized and extremely colorful butterfly, with a wingspan of less than 2.25 inches. The name “checkerspot” comes from the checkered pattern of orange, white, and black on the upper and lower surface of the butterfly’s wings.

The life cycle of Taylor’s checkerspot lasts approximately one year. Adult butterflies appear in April and May to mate and lay eggs. Larvae emerge and feed on host plants until mid-June to early July, then enter diapause (similar to dormancy) through the winter. Larvae finish maturing, pupate and emerge as butterflies the following spring.

Range and Habitat

This species is known to have occurred historically in grasslands or oak savanna in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Puget Sound area of Washington, and southeast Vancouver Island in British Colombia. Currently it is known from a total of two sites in Oregon, 10 sites in Washington and one newly discovered site in British Columbia. Both populations of Taylor’s checkerspot in Oregon occur within Benton County.

For habitat to be suitable for Taylor’s checkerspot, it must have both host plants for the butterfly’s larvae, and also have nectar plants for the adult butterflies to feed on. Taylor’s checkerspot larvae are known to feed on paintbrush (Castilleja) and introduced species of Plantain (Plantagospp.). Adult butterflies in Oregon nectar most frequently on strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Tolmie’s startulip (Calochortus tolmiei) and seablush (Plectritis congesta).


Remaining populations of Taylor’s Checkerspot are at risk from:

  • Further habitat loss or fragmentation
  • Invasion of prairie habitats by non-native species
  • Encroachment of trees and shrubs into prairie habitats
  • Modification of natural disturbance regimes
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