Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea [Johannson])
Wing span: 2 3/4 - 4 inches (7 - 10.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male bright yellow-orange; forewing has red-orange bar and hindwing has red-orange outer margin. The two forms of the female, one off-white and the other yellow-orange, are much larger than the male. Both have upperside of forewing with solid black cell spot and a submarginal row of broken, angled black smudges. Outer half of hindwing of yellow form is red-orange.
Life history: Swift, high fliers. Females lay single eggs on leaves and flowers of host plants; caterpillars prefer to feed on the flowers. Development is continous in the wet season.
Flight: Two-three flights in Florida, one in northern range from mid-late summer.
Caterpillar hosts: Cassia species in the pea family (Fabaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from many different flowers.
Habitat: Open lowland sites such as gardens, forest edges, parks, road edges.
Range: Resident from Brazil north to peninsular Florida and the Keys. Irregular wanderer to south Texas; extremely rare vagrant in Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Connecticut.
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.
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.