Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice Godart)
Wing span: 1 1/2 - 2 3/4 inches (3.8 - 7 cm).
Identification: Upper surface of male wings bright, clear yellow with solid black edging; lower side of forewing with some dark submarginal spots; hindwing with silver cell spot rimmed with orange-pink, usually doubled. Female has 2 forms: yellow form with uneven black edging enclosing yellow spots, and a white form which is greenish-white rather than yellow. Spring and fall forms are smaller and less conspicuously marked.
Life history: Eggs laid singly on host; caterpillars eat leaves. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.
Flight: Three flights in the north from May-October, 4-5 in the south from March-November.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), white clover (Trifolium repens), and pea (Pisum sativum).
Adult food: Flower nectar of many plants.
Habitat: Many different open areas including fields, lawns, alfalfa and clover fields, road edges, meadows.
Range: Alaska south through central and southeast Canada, all of conterminous United states except much of California, south Texas, and most of Florida.
Conservation: Not required.
Management needs: Not 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, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.