Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe [Boisduval])
Wing span: 2 1/4 - 3 3/8 inches (5.7 - 8.6 cm).
Identification: Upper surface of male bright orange with no markings. Two female forms, pink-white or yellow-orange. Underside forewing of both sexes with straight submarginal line. Two seasonal forms; winter form has heavier underside markings.
Life history: Caterpillars eat new leaves.
Flight: All year in south Texas and south Florida, strays north in mid- to late summer.
Caterpillar hosts: Pithecellobium and Inga species in the pea family (Fabaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of lantana, shepherd's needle, bougainvilla, rose periwinkle, turk's cap, and hibiscus.
Habitat: Open, tropical lowlands including gardens, pastures, road edges, trails, parks.
Range: Peru north to southern Texas and peninsular Florida. Rare stray to Colorado, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.
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, 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.