Is it a Theona Checkerspot Butterfly?

Theona Checkeerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

It just kept happening? We’re working the perennial gardens of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas near the border wall. Then, a butterfly flies in from who knows where, and lands on a wildflower. Your brain does its 1/500th of a second discernment of the flight, wing shape, colors, patterns, flight braking technique, wing position on the flowerhead and then back fires the conclusion: New!!

Yippee! Another new one. This one alighted on Mistflower blooms. I shot away. Weeks before this trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, I spent much time studying whatever field guide I had of butterflies west of the Mississippi River. I’m not sure that was a good use of my time, for when this baby made its stage entrance, I wasn’t sure of what species of Checkerspot it was. John offered that it was a Theona Checkerspot Butterfly.

When the slides came back from Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, John’s ID was confirmed. My first meet-up with a Theona Checkerspot.

The illuminated cells in the image are its saving grace. Theona, illuminated.