Phoebis sennae

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Cloudless sulphur
Female Cloudless Sulphur Megan McCarty11.jpg
Female
Male Cloudless Sulphur, Megan McCarty97.jpg
Male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pieridae
Genus: Phoebis
Species: P. sennae
Binomial name
Phoebis sennae
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies

Three, see text

Synonyms

Papilio sennae

The cloudless sulphur or cloudless giant sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a midsized butterfly in the family Pieridae found in the New World. There are several similar species such as the yellow angled-sulphur (Anteos maerula), which has angled wings, or other sulphurs, which are much smaller.

Distribution[edit]

Their range is wide, from South America to southern Canada, in particular southwestern Ontario.[1] They are most common from Argentina to southern Texas and Florida, but are often visitors outside this range becoming more rare further north.

Habitat[edit]

The common habitats of this butterfly are open spaces, gardens, glades, seashores, and watercourses.

Habits[edit]

The adult butterfly feeds on nectar from many different flowers with long tubes including cordia, bougainvillea, cardinal flower, hibiscus, lantana, and wild morning glory.

Senna hebecarpa (American senna) is a larval host and nectar source for the cloudless giant sulphur butterfly in the Eastern United States.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

The breeding season is dependent on the climate of the area, from midsummer to fall in the cooler areas, to year-round where the climate is warmer.

Egg[edit]

The cloudless sulphur starts off as a pitcher-shaped white egg. Eventually it will turn to a pale orange. The egg stage lasts six days.

Caterpillar[edit]

Once the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges that is yellow to greenish, striped on sides, with black dots in rows across the back. The caterpillar will build a tent in a host plant where it hides in the day. The host plant may be partridge pea (Chamaecrista cinerea), sennas (Senna),[3] clovers (Trifolium), or other legumes (Fabaceae). The caterpillar will usually grow to a length between 41–45 mm (1.6–1.8 in).

Chrysalis[edit]

The caterpillar will form a chrysalis that is pointed at both ends and humped in the middle. The chrysalis will be either yellow or green with pink or green stripes. From the chrysalis comes a medium sized butterfly (55–70 mm (2.2–2.8 in)) with fairly elongated but not angled wings.

Adult[edit]

The male butterfly is clear yellow above and yellow or mottled with reddish brown below and the female is lemon-yellow to golden or white on both surfaces, with varying amounts of black spotting along the margin and a black open square or star on the bottom forewing. Wingspan: 63–78 mm (2.5–3.1 in).

Subspecies[edit]

Listed alphabetically.[4]

  • P. s. amphitrite (Feisthamel, 1839)
  • P. s. eubule[1]
  • P. s. marcellina (Cramer, [1779])
  • P. s. sennae

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cloudless Sulphur, Butterflies of Canada
  2. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Information Network: ''Senna hebecarpa
  3. ^ Clark, Dale. "Phoebis sennae". Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  4. ^ Phoebis, funet.fi

External links[edit]