Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe [Cramer])
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 1/4 inches (3.5 - 5.7 cm).
Identification: Upperside of wings orange in both sexes; orange-yellow form rare. Forewing with small black cell spot. Male with sharply defined black borders on outer and costal margins; female borders not so well-defined. In winter form, underside of hindwing is brick red, brown, or tan; in summer form it is orange-yellow.
Life history: Males patrol flats and gullies for females. Females lay eggs singly under host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves. Dry season form overwinters and lays eggs in spring.
Flight: Four-five flights, all year long, in southern Texas and Deep South. Mid- to late summer in the north.
Caterpillar hosts: Cassia species in the pea family (Fabaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers, including shepherd's needle (Bidens pilosa).
Habitat: Low elevation areas including pine flats, fields, desert scrub, gardens, vacant lots, road edges, and washes.
Range: Central America north to along the United States-Mexico border; vagrant to non-mountainous parts of the eastern U. S. south of 40 latitude; rare stray to Ontario, Connecticut, South Dakota, and Colorado.
Conservation: Not usually required.
Management needs: None reported.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 327 pages, 50 color plates. Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.