Euphydryas chalcedona corralensis
Rock Corral Checkerspot
This is a butterfly of the washes draining the desert foothills on the northeastern side of the San Bernardinos. Many of them of a lighter orange color, with some coral, in contrast with the dark chalcedona in the San Gabriel Mountains. The host of corralensis is Keckiella antirrhinoides var microphyllum (chapparal beard tongue), a shrub with an April to June bloom of yellow flowers. That's the same larval food plant as subspecies kingstonensis, which is in the Kingston Range and vicinity. Kingstonensis has a ground color that is described as "tannish brown", while corralensis has a "dull orangish red" ground color. It typically flies in March and April, and probably again in the fall depending on conditions.
This is Euphydryas chalcedona corralensis from the type locality at Rock Corral. Rock Corral is in the Johnson Valley, northeast of the San Bernardino Mountains and northwest of the town of Joshua Tree in San Bernardino Co. On April 15, 2020 - twelve years after my last visit to the washes where I first saw this butterfly - I returned for better photographs. In a matter of minutes I saw my first corralensis and within about a half-hour I was ready to leave. I would have stayed longer, but I didn't feel particularly safe given some people parked near me who... well, not sure what they were up to. But I didn't want to find out.
Same day as above, different individual. These were flying in the same wash as years earlier, shown in the photos below. This time, they were among Chlosyne acastus neumoegeni and Vanessa cardui, which hopefully are wrapping up yet another huge dispersal event.
The Rock Corral Checkerspot, Euphydryas chalcedona corralensis. From the TL at Rock Corral in San Bernardino Co., April 13, 2008. They have more extensive red on the dorsal side than neighboring chalcedona subspecies.
Another corralensis from the same hike.
Ventral of the Rock Corral Checkerspot. Same hike.
Original description of the Rock Corral Checkerspot (and kingstonensis) by the Emmel brothers in 1973.