Ecological and geographical differences between eastern and western populations of the Baltimore Checkerspot have led to a division into two subspecies, E. p. phaeton and E. p. ozarkae. Research concerning E. p. ozarkae is sparse, and prior to our work, many aspects of the life history of this subspecies were not known. An accurate assessment of its status has been hindered and confused through the use of data obtained from the eastern subspecies (e.g., mesic habitats and larval food plant) to characterize Ozark populations (e.g., glade habitats and a different larval food plant). From 2011 to 2014 we studied this butterfly in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. We identified the availability of the primary larval host plant (Aureolaria flava) as a potential limiting factor and investigated limitations to the distribution of this plant. We found many similarities concerning the timing of development between the two subspecies but ample evidence to demonstrate the uniqueness of Ozark populations. Our findings provide valuable information for future research, management, and conservation of the Ozark Baltimore Checkerspot.
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