2012 65¢ Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly
Issue Date: January 20, 2012
City: Baltimore, MD
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Die Cut 10 ¾
This is the second butterfly stamp issued for use on large greeting card envelopes that require additional postage.
The Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly was made the Maryland state insect in 1973 because of its abundance. However, fewer Checkerspots in recent decades resulted in their threatened status.
Because of its black and orange design, the Baltimore Checkerspot was named after Sir George Calvert, the first Baron Baltimore. His family crest has the same colors, which also appear on the state flag.
Baltimore Checkerspots usually lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves of the turtlehead plant, a member of the snapdragon family. A lack of these plants is one reason for the Checkerspot’s decline.
The white-tailed deer population has been increasing. These deer have been eating the turtlehead plants, and along with them, the Checkerspot’s nurseries and young larvae. Other reasons there are fewer Checkerspots include habitat loss to both development and agriculture, plus insecticide drift from nearby crops.
Different groups in the state have been taking measures to help save the Checkerspot. These include setting aside a small area of wetland and installing a deer-exclusion fence. Others have been breeding the butterfly in captivity or searching for existing colonies to protect. According to one of these conservationists, “I don’t think there’s anything more important.”