Recently we brought home a lovely yellow-spotted chrysalis attached to a tall, dry stalk of grass on the Serpentine Prairie. It hatched out this weekend, revealing a gorgeous new checkerspot butterfly, Euphydryas chalcedona. After letting the new butterfly dry itself out and get ready for the world, we released it back up in Redwood Park, near where we’d found it. This species lays its eggs on the monkeyflower bush, an orange-flowered plant in the genus Mimulus. The chaparral in the hills is thick with monkeyflower. This butterfly has two common names — variable checkerspot and also Chalcedon checkerspot. No one’s sure where the “Chalcedon” bit came from. Chalcedon is a mineral and also a city in Asia Minor.

The new checkerspot just emerged from its chrysalis.

The new checkerspot just emerged from its chrysalis.

Top view of headBottom view of head Drying out in terrariumWing flexing

We set the butterfly free in Redwood Park, where there's plenty of monkeyflower.

We set the butterfly free in Redwood Park, where there’s plenty of monkeyflower.

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