North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Sierra Sulphur (Colias behrii)
JPG -- species photo

Sierra Sulphur (Colias behrii W. H. Edwards)

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 5/8 inches (3.5 - 4.2 cm).

Identification: Upper surface of male dull green with dark border; pale hindwing cell spot. Female greenish-yellow with dark diffuse border. Underside of both sexes green.

Life history: Males patrol low to the ground for females.

Flight: One flight from July-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Low blueberries (Vaccinium species) in the heath family (Ericaceae) and gentian (Gentiana newberryi).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Subalpine and alpine meadows, usually above 9000 feet.

Range: Isolated range in California's Sierra Nevada from Tuolumne County south to Tulare County.

Conservation: Prevent damage to meadow habitats by trampling or grazing.

Management needs: Restrict access to major colonies in Tuolumne and Tioga meadows, Yosemite National Park.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).


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

Sierra Sulphur (Colias behrii)
distribution map
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