Sleepy Orange (Eurema nicippe)
The Sleepy Orange is a species of very common butterflies with their flight season being throughout the year, and almost everywhere in North America. However, the adult butterflies migrate southward to spend the winter. They are known for their clean looks and vibrant yellow-orange coloration.
Description and Identification
The larva, when hatched, is covered with fine light hairs and has a grayish green coloration. There is a whitish yellow stripe at the sides. They feed on the leaves of the host plants.
The chrysalis of the sleepy orange varies in color, ranging from green to brownish black. Either way, they have a dramatic way of camouflaging since both the colors help them mingle significantly among the green or dead leaves of their host.
Sexual Dimorphism: Identical
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal side shows a bright orange color with both the primary and the secondary pairs having a broad, uneven border in brown that are thicker at the ends. The upper wings have a small dark spot in the upper middle part. When the wings are closed, they are uniformly beige to pale yellow. Males are slightly brighter and smaller than the females.
Average wingspan: 1 3⁄8–2 1⁄4 inches (35–57 mm)
Flight pattern: Moderate
Pale greenish yellow in color that becomes reddish prior to hatching; laid on the underside of leaves or flowers
|Distribution||Primarily in North America, but also in the West Indies, Belize, and Costa Rica|
|Habitat||Variety of habitats, starting from swamps, wet meadows, open woodlands, banks of ponds, to fields, wood edges, waterways, roadsides, or valleys|
|Host plants||Primarily Sicklepod senna (Cassia obtusifolia) and coffee senna (Cassia occidentalis)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- The sleepy orange butterfly probably got its name from the tiny dark spot located on each of the upper wings that resemble a pair of closed or ‘sleeping’ eyes.