Colias philodice

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Clouded Sulphur
Male Clouded Sulphur Megan McCarty40.jpg
Male specimen
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pieridae
Genus: Colias
Species: C. philodice
Binomial name
Colias philodice
Godart, 1819
Colias philodice range map.JPG

The Common or Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) is a North American butterfly in the family Pieridae, subfamily Coliadinae.


The upper side of the male's wings is yellow with black borders. The upper side of the female's wings is either yellow or greenish-white with yellow- or white-spotted black borders. The underside of the male's wings is yellow while the female's is yellow or greenish-white, and both have a double hind wing spot trimmed in brownish-red. Its wingspan 32 to 54 mm.[1]

White form female
White form

This species has a white form which can be confused with a Pieris rapae.


This butterfly may be encountered in fields, lawns, Alfalfa or Clover fields, meadows, and roadsides. Swarms of these butterflies will congregate at mud puddles. They range over most of North America with the exception of Labrador, Nunavut, and northern Quebec.[1]

Nectar Plants[edit]

Clouded Sulphurs nectar at flowers such as Milkweed (Asclepias sp.), Butterfly Bush (Buddleja sp.), Coneflower (Dracopis, Echinacea, and Rudbeckia), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), Dandelion (Taraxacum sp.), Clover (Trifolium sp.), and Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis) and many more.

Host Plants[edit]

Ground-Plum (Astragalus crassicarpus), Platte River Milk-Vetch (Astragalus plattensis), Soy-Bean (Glycine max), Deer-Vetch (Lotus spp.), Alfalfa (Medicago sativa), White Sweet-Clover (Melilotus albus), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Vetch (Vicia spp.)

Life cycle[edit]

The pale yellow eggs are laid singly on the host plants. The eggs turn red after a few days, then turn gray just before they hatch. The young larvae will eat one another. The larva is green with a white stripe running along each side of the body. The white stripes may contain bars or lines of pink or orange. The green chrysalis hangs up right by a silken girdle. Just before eclosion, the chrysalis turns yellow with a pink "zipper".


Similar species[edit]


External links[edit]