Desert Orangetip (Anthocharis cethura C. & R. Felder)
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 4.0 cm.)
Identification: White to pale yellow with orange tip on forewing. Green marbling on underside of hindwing.
Life history: Eggs are laid on flower buds of host plants. Caterpillars eat flowers and young seed pods. Chrysalis overwinters, may pass several years before adult emerges.
Flight: Early February - April.
Caterpillar hosts: Tansy-mustard, jewelflower, tumble mustard and probably other plants in Mustard family.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Rocky desert hills and ridges.
Range: Northwestern Nevada south through southeastern California and western Arizona to northern Mexico.
Conservation: Catalina Orangetip (subspecies catalina) found only on Santa Catalina Island off southern California coast is of conservation concern.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4,G5 for species, T1T2 for subspecies catalina.
Management needs: Many habitats threatened by exotic cheatgrass invasion.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. Emmel, T.C., editor. 1998. Systematics of Western North American Butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Fla. 878 pp. 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. 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