Pacific Orangetip (Anthocharis sara Lucas)
Wing span: 1 1/16 - 1 1/2 inches (2.7 - 4.0 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male forewing with large, orange-red spot; border of apex dark, narrow. Female spot smaller; dark border with white wedges. Underside of hindwing with scattered, dark-green marbling. Late spring individuals are larger with less black and hyave yellow green marbling below. Some individuals are yellow.
Life history: Males patrol, mostly in valleys, for females. Eggs are laid singly near tops of host plants. Young caterpillars feed on flower buds, older ones on flowers and fruits. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: One flight during June in Alaska; primary flight on California coast from February-April with a second partial flight from May-June.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family especially rock cresses such as tower mustard. In California, presence of late flowering "true" mustards (Brassica species) allows extended larval feeding and a partial second flight.
Adult food: Flower nectar, including that of host mustards, thistles, fiddleneck, and brodiaeas.
Habitat: Open oak woods in hills, orchards, fields, meadows, streamcourses, canyons.
Range: Alaska coast south to Baja California mainly to west of Pacific divide.
Conservation: Conserve restricted populations.
Management needs: Preserve host plant and flyway habitats.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates. Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. 282 pages, 32 color plates. Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Author: Paul A. Opler
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.