North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Florida

Shy Yellow (Eurema messalina)

Shy Yellow (Eurema messalina [Maynard])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.6 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Both sexes creamy white. Males with black borders on outer edges of both wings; female with black apex. Male has pink bar on underside of forewing that fades after death.

Life history: Females lay single eggs on top of host plant leaves.

Flight: Most common in May-August; February.

Caterpillar hosts: Tick trefoils (Desmodium) and Cassia species in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Shady, brushy areas.

Range: Resident in West Indies; very rare stray in southern Florida.

Conservation: None 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.

Smith, D. S., L. D. Miller, and J. Y. Miller. 1994. The butterflies of the 
     West Indies and South Florida. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 264 
     pages, 32 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Gerberg, E.J. and Arnett, R.H., Jr.  Florida Butterflies.  Natural Science
     Publications, Inc.  Baltimore, MD.  90 pp.

Kimball, C.P.  1965.  Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas - Vol. 1:
     Lepidoptera of Florida.  Div. of Plant Industry, State of Florida Dept. 
     of Agriculture.  Gainesville, FL.  363 pp. 

Minno, M.C. and Emmel, T.C.  1993.  Butterflies of the Florida Keys.  Scientific
     Publishers.  Gainesville, FL.  168 pp.
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Smith, D.S., Miller, L.D. and Miller, J.Y.  1994.  The Butterflies of the West
     Indies and South Florida.  Oxford Univ. Press.  Oxford, U.K.  264 pp.
Shy Yellow (Eurema messalina)
distribution map
map legend

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