E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Euphydryas anicia Scudder, 1872
Anicia Chalcedona Checkerspot; Checkerspots
Family: Nymphalidae (Brushfoots)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC
Photo of species

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7447)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Euphydryas anicia in British Columbia
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Species Information

Click on the image(s) below to view an expanded illustration for this taxon.

Illustration 2

Illustration Source: Butterflies of British Columbia by Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard © Royal BC Museum


In most of BC only the Anicia Checkerspot is found. Where it overlaps with the Chalcedon Checkerspot along the crest of the southern Coast Ranges it can be reliably distinguished only by reference to the genitalia. The dorsal arm of the harpe is longer than that of any other Euphydryas species. The two arms of the harpe are almost parallel, whereas in other Euphydryas species the two arms are at right angles to each other. When the Anicia and Edith's checkerspots are found together in the Southern Interior and the Kootenays, the Anicia Checkerspot differs from Edith's Checkerspot in that the postmedian row of red spots on the ventral hindwing is not divided by a black line. The Anicia Checkerspot differs from the Chalcedon Checkerspot in the ventral forewing: the postmedian row of apical white spots is not accented on the inner side by a wide, black area. These wing characters are not completely reliable, however, especially for distinguishing Anicia from Chalcedon Checkerspots.

Immature Stages

Venables (1912) partially described the immatures in BC. Eggs are lemon yellow. Early instar larvae are black with a dull white dorsal band.


Populations in the Chilcotin, Southern Interior, and West Kootenay are the darker subspecies, Hopfinger's Checkerspot, E.a. hopfingeri Gunder, 1934 (TL: Black Canyon, Okanogan Co., WA). Populations from the East Kootenay and northeastern BC are the nominate subspecies, E.a. anicia (Doubleday, [1847]); TL: nr. Rock Lake, AB (Shepard 1984), which has a very red ground colour. E.a. helvia (Scudder, 1869) (TL: Ramparts, Yukon R., AK) should eventually be recorded from the Atlin region.

Genus Description

The name Euphydryas is derived from the Greek euphys (a goodly shape) and dryas (a dryad or wood nymph) (Emmet 1991), hence these checkerspots are goodly shaped wood nymphs. The common name "checkerspots" is derived from the checkerboard pattern of the upperside of the wings.

The Euphydryas checkerspots differ from Charidryas checkerspots by having brick red, not tawny, spots alternating with the black spots. The male genitalia lack the saccus. This is a Holarctic genus, with five Nearctic species and four Palearctic species. None of the individual species are Holarctic. The larvae feed on a variety of plants. Adults of three western North American species, all of which are in BC, are very hard to distinguish without reference to the male genitalia. These three species are in the subgenus Euphydryas (= Eurodyras Higgins = Occidryas Higgins). The fourth BC species, E. gillettii, is in the subgenus Hypodryas. All species worldwide are in one or the other of the two North American subgenera.

The figure illustrates the one part of the male genitalia, the harpe, that is diagnostic for species. The short arms of the harpe, one rounded and toothed and the other flattened out, are diagnostic for the subgenus Hypodryas. In the subgenus Euphydryas, at least one arm of the harpe is longer than the body of the harpe. This subgeneric classification is supported by recent DNA analysis of worldwide Melitaeinae by Zimmermann et al. (2000), who prefer subgenera to genera. Once this paper has been examined closely, however, others may choose to recognize two genera instead of one for the North American fauna.


Adults fly from late May to early July at low elevations. Alpine populations fly from early July to mid-August, depending on when the snow is gone for the summer. In June there is usually a cool, damp period that delays the emergence of a portion of low-elevation populations. When these individuals emerge, they appear darker than those that emerged earlier. In the West Kootenay and adjacent Pend Oreille Co., WA, these dark individuals look similar to E.c. wallacensis Gunder, 1928, but that taxon does not occur in BC, Idaho north of Wallace, or Pend Oreille Co., WA.

Venables (1912) found that eggs were laid in a clump on snowberry (Symphoricarpos), but this cannot be the only larval foodplant in the province as snowberry does not occur throughout the BC range of the Anicia Checkerspot. Larvae refused to eat after moulting to the third instar, which is the apparent overwintering stage. Hibernating checkerspot larvae found in webs on Penstemon on Crater Mountain, near Keremeos, BC, were probably Anicia Checkerspots (CSG).


The Anicia Checkerspot is the widest-ranging BC species of Euphydryas. It is found throughout BC east of the Coast and Cascade mountains except for the northeast quarter. It can occur at any elevation from the bottoms of valley floors to above timberline in the south, and in dry pine or aspen woodlands in the north.



The Anicia Checkerspot occurs from central AK south to central CA, AZ, NM, and northern MEX.

Status Information

Scientific NameOrigin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
Euphydryas aniciaNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Euphydryas anicia aniciaNativeS5YellowNot Listed
Euphydryas anicia hopfingeriNativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-17 9:28:21 PM]
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