These are checkerspot butterflies for sure. But when I originally posted the possibility of “Bay” checkerspot on the first photo (taken at Sibley), an astute commenter at Flickr corrected my ID: “Unfortunately that is not a Bay checkerspot butterfly.” Simple as that. Got it. Endangered, not likely.
If it had been a Bay checkerspot, it would have meant I’d discovered an entirely new population in that area, which would be a cool [if delusional] footnote to put on the resumé.
I wasn’t able to positively narrow the identification on these two, and if you can, please feel free to e-mail me or post a note in the comments. For the time being, they are checkerspots without a home in butterfly taxonomy. That could be liberating, if you ask a checkerspot.
The scoop on checkerspots:
- The Bay checkerspot is endangered, due largely land development and the resulting reduced habitat in the Bay Area
- There are 27 species of checkerspots in North America (source: Encarta). Check out the Chalcedon checkerspot for comparison — another species found in the Bay Area.
- Even within a species of checkerspot, there can be variability in coloration.