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Butterfly Briefs: Whites & Yellows (family Pieridae)
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BUTTERFLY BRIEFS

The Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) is a small to medium-sized butterfly that is mostly bright white. The males have one spot on the upperside of their forewing while the female has two. Both sexes may have dark tips on their forewings and a yellowish or greenish cast to the underside of their hindwing. As their name suggestions, the caterpillar host plants are in the crucifer (mustard) family, and they enjoy munching on cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.  These butterflies fly from early spring to late fall and can be found in cities and out in the countryside.

 

They are one of our only introduced butterflies, being introduced from Eurasia in 1860 in Quebec, Canada and can now be found over most of the USA.

 

For more about the Cabbage White, visit www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pieris-rapae

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BUTTERFLY BRIEFS

The Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) is a medium-sized, light yellow butterfly of open areas. Both sexes have a dark wing border above, males with a solid border and females with light-colored spots in the border. The Clouded Sulphur is very similar to the much more common Orange Sulphur, but the Clouded Sulphur is clear yellow with no orange. If you see any orange, it is an Orange Sulphur. Both species have a white form female (white instead of yellow) and the two white-form females cannot be distinguished reliably from each other in the field.

 

The adults fly from early spring to late fall in open areas. They get nectar from flowers and males may puddle on mud, gravel roads, and poop to get salts for reproduction. Their caterpillars feed on a variety of legumes including clovers and alfalfa.

For more about the Clouded Sulphur, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/clouded-sulphur

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BUTTERFLY BRIEFS

The Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) is a medium-sized, yellow butterfly found in open areas. Both sexes have a dark wing border above, males with a solid border and females with light-colored spots in the border. The Orange Sulphur is very similar to the less common Clouded Sulphur, but the Orange Sulphur is usually a darker yellow with some orange tinting, while the Clouded Sulphur is clear yellow with no orange. If you see any orange, it is an Orange Sulphur. Both species have a white form female (white instead of yellow) and the two white-form females cannot be distinguished reliably from each other in the field.

 

The adults fly from early spring to late fall in open areas. They get nectar from flowers and males may puddle on mud, gravel roads, and poop to get salts for reproduction. Their caterpillars feed on a variety of legumes including clovers and alfalfa.

For more about the orange sulphur, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/orange-sulphur-alfalfa-butterfly

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BUTTERFLY BRIEFS

The Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a large yellow butterfly of open areas. Females are yellow with a variable number of brown markings underneath. Males are very bright greenish yellow with few markings.

 

The adults colonize our area yearly from the south and are most commonly seen from summer to fall. Males patrol open areas and both sexes can be found getting nectar from flowers, especially trumpet shaped flowers. Their caterpillars feed on senna and partridge pea. There are 2-3 broods per year.

For more about the Cloudless Sulphur, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/cloudless-sulphur

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