Texola elada life history
Elada Checkerspot (Texola elada) Life History

2-20-10, mating pair

Eggs on 3-1-10 (laid on 2-24-10)

3-7-10, caterpillars emerging



3-26-10, mature caterpillar

3-29-10, newly formed chrysalis

3-30-10, typical appearance of chrysalis

4-4-10, butterfly almost ready to emerge from chrysalis

4-4-10, fresh Elada Checkerspot

I collected a mating pair of Elada Checkerspots in February, 2010. I provided Tube Tongue (Siphonoglossa pilosella) and Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii) as possible host plants. I had previously found caterpillars on Flame Acanthus, and Tube Tongue is often listed as a host plant (for example, Mike Quinn's excellent Caterpillar Food Plants for the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas).

The female oviposited two groups of eggs on Tube Tongue after four days. One group was on a cut branch; the other on a potted plant. When the caterpillars emerged, I decided to try an experiment. I placed the cut branch of Tube Tongue and a few leaves of Flame Acanthus in the same container, in order to see which plant was preferred. Several, but not all, of the caterpillars chose the Flame Acanthus.

I now had three groups of caterpillars: two in containers, and one on a potted plant. I noticed after a couple of days that the caterpillars in the container with Tube Tongue were not growing. Most died after another day or two; one lasted 2 weeks but eventually died also. I inspected the potted Tube Tongue, and was unable to locate any caterpillars on it. Those, too, had died. Clearly, Tube Tongue was an incompatible host plant when I performed this study. Perhaps the results would be different at a different time of the year, or with a larger group of caterpillars, but on this occasion the plant was not what the larvae needed. Later in the season I discovered that Eladas seem to favor a plant called Texas Wrightwort (Carlowrightia texana). It is also used by Texan Crescents.

Fortunately, the caterpillars that chose the Flame Acanthus were thriving. They pupated after about 3 weeks, and the adults emerged after approximately 7 days. The caterpillars of this group were not as yellow as those I raised in a previous study (seen here).

Vesta and Texan Crescents, and Tiny Checkerspots, all may use the same hosts. The coloration of each of these varies to some extent during different instars and between different caterpillars. I have found the face, if a good picture or look can be obtained, is the best indicator of species. The Elada Checkerspot has a black head (contrast the red of Tiny Checkerspot) with numerous white markings that give it the appearance of having eyes and a nose.

Face of Elada Checkerspot

Elada Checkerspot Page