Viewed from above, silvery checkerspots have a row of dark spots just inside the margin of the hindwing. Among these submarginal dark spots, at least a few have white centers. There are usually no white crescent-shaped marks within the dorsal (upperside) black hindwing border, but if present, they are faint, not boldly marked. The ventral (underside) hindwing has a wide pale median band, and the brown-shaded patch on the margin has a distinctive white crescent within the patch. Also, outside the brown patch along the wing margin, there are additional white crescents.
Larvae are black, with many tiny white dots, and have branched black spines, with an orange stripe on each side (the orange stripe may be split lengthwise into two narrower stripes on some individuals).
Similar species: Missouri has several checkerspots, crescents, and fritillaries, but two are most likely to be confused with the silvery checkerspot:
- Pearl crescents are smaller butterflies and, viewed from above, do not have white centers in any of their dark submarginal hindwing spots; also, the black band along the forewing edge is narrower in the pearl crescent.
- Gorgone checkerspots look quite different from silvery checkerspots, viewing their zigzag-patterned undersides. But they are quite similar above: Look for the gorgone’s more distinct white crescents within the black hindwing border.
Habitat and Conservation
Larval host plants comprise many species in the aster/daisy/sunflower family, such as our native asters (Symphyotrichum), sunflowers (Helianthus), black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), yellow crownbeard (Verbesina alternifolia), and more.
Adults visit flowers, moist ground, and animal droppings to obtain fluids and nutrients.