Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
The Clouded Sulphur is a species of small to medium-sized butterflies that are spread across much of North America.
Description and Identification
The larvae are green with a white stripe on each side of the body, which might also have lines or bars in orange or pink. The young larvae are cannibalistic. Given a chance, they will eat one another.
- Family: Pieridae
- Genus: Colias
- Common names: Common Sulphur
- Scientific Name: Colias philodice
The chrysalis is also green, primarily for camouflage purposes, and hangs with the help of a silken girdle in an upright position. Prior to coming out, it turns yellow with a pink ‘zipper’.
Sexual Dimorphism: Not clearly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side of both the pair of wings in the male display a pale yellow coloration bordered in solid black along the edges, while in the females, the borders have yellow dots. In the forewings, the lower sides bear a few dark submarginal spots; the hindwings are designed with silver cell spot rimmed in orange-pink color and are generally doubled. When the wings are closed, the male’s dorsal side is yellow, while the females can be either yellow or greenish white.
Average wingspan: 1½ to 2¾ inches (3.8 to 7 cm)
Flight pattern: Fairly rapid and sometimes erratic
Pale yellow; laidsingly on the host plants; turns red after a few days, and finally gray just beforehatching
|Distribution||South of Alaska through southeast and central parts of Canada, all of United States except most parts of California, south Texas, and most of Florida|
|Habitat||Sunny open lands including meadows, fields (especially, alfalfa and clover fields), lawns, and road edges|
|Lifespan of adults||2 to 7 days, though some specimens have been seen living up to 24|
|Host plants||Species belonging to the pea family (Fabaceae) including white clover (Trifolium repens), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and pea (Pisum sativum)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar, muddy water|
Did You Know?
• Sometimes, a white form (in place of yellow) is exhibited by the females, which is known as ‘Alba’. White form in the males is also known, but it is extremely rare.
• They are known for their mud-puddling behavior, gathering in small to large groups in wet places, sipping water from the mud.