North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Stella Orangetip (Anthocharis stella)
JPG -- species photo

Stella Orangetip (Anthocharis stella Lucas)

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 7/8 inches (3.5 - 4.8 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, olive-green marbling. 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 from late March to mid-August, primarily mid-June through mid-July.

Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family including tansy-mustard (Descurainia), hedge mustard (Sisymbrium) and rock cresses (Arabis) species.

Adult food: Flower nectar, including that of host mustards, violets, thistles, fiddleneck, and brodiaeas.

Habitat: Deserts, open woods, orchards, fields, meadows, stream courses, canyons.

Range: Alaska coast south to Baja California, east to North Dakota, New Mexico, extreme western Texas.

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.


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.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin 

     Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Stella Orangetip (Anthocharis stella)
distribution map
map legend

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