D. dymas life history
Tiny Checkerspot (Dymasia dymas) Life History

10-12-09, ovipositing

10-17-09, recently emerged caterpillars



10-26-09; note variety of sizes for same age



10-31-09, first pupa

10-31-09, another cat begins to pupate

11-5-09, pupa more colorful with age

11-7-09; this one is ready to emerge

11-6-09, the first Tiny Checkerspot has emerged and been released

11-7-09, a second Tiny Checkerspot prepares to fly

In order to obtain eggs, I collected a pair of mating Tiny Checkerspots. They were provided with several pieces of Tube Tongue (Siphonoglossa pilosella) as a host plant. The weather was cool, and after three days I still had not obtained eggs. On the third afternoon I was ready to release the butterflies, because I did not want them to die in captivity or without reproducing.  The sun came out, so I decided to place the holding jar in the sun while I did some chores. I came back an hour or so later to find the female laying a small raft of eggs. I immediately released the pair in hopes she would lay more eggs on plants in the vicinity.

The caterpillars emerged after 5 days. For a couple of days they stayed clustered, but after that they spread out to feed individually or in small groups. Tiny Checkerspots are rare in this area, so I decided to attempt to raise all of the approximately two dozen caterpillars. Feeding and cleaning up after these guys kept me busy, indeed! However, the caterpillars matured at varying rates, and I eventually released the smallest ones to the wild.

The first caterpillar pupated on October 31, exactly two weeks after the caterpillars emerged from their eggs. The other caterpillars formed their chrysalises over a period of about a week. Likewise, the adults also emerged over a week's time. The first eclosed on November 6. The adults exhibited great variety in coloration. Pictures of several can be seen on the species page (link below).

Face of Tiny Checkerspot

Elada and Tiny Checkerspot larvae are very similar. It usually is easiest to distinguish them by looking at the face: the face of a Tiny Checkerspot (above) is usually predominately orange, with muted white spotting; the face of an Elada Checkerspot is black with clear, bold white spotting. It should be noted, however, that on one occasion a Tiny Checkerspot caterpillar that overwintered did have a dark face. Compare Elada Checkerspot life history.


Tiny Checkerspot Page