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Eurema nicippe

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Sleepy orange

Secure  (NatureServe)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pieridae
Genus: Eurema
E. nicippe
Binomial name
Eurema nicippe
(Cramer, 1779)
  • Abaeis nicippe Cramer, 1779

Eurema nicippe, the sleepy orange, is a North American butterfly in the family Pieridae. Its range spans from Central America to north along the United States-Mexico border, and it often travels further to non-mountainous regions of the southeastern United States.[3]


Sleepy oranges puddling on damp ground.

The sleepy orange is a bright orange butterfly with the upperside of the wings having wide black borders. The forewing costal margin has a small, narrow black marking that resembles a closed eye. Contrary to popular belief, its name originates from this wing patterning, rather than its behavior; the butterfly has a very rapid flight pattern when disturbed.[4] The underside of the wings varies seasonally: summer forms are bright yellow with brick-red markings, while winter forms are browner and more heavily marked. It has a wingspan of 138–214 inches (35–50 mm).[5]


The sleepy orange generally prefers low elevation areas,[3] agricultural land, and disturbed sites,[5] and may be found in or around old fields, roadsides, woods edges, swamps, wet meadows, open woodlands, margins of ponds, waterways, and valleys.[4]

Life cycle[edit]

Its eggs are spindle-shaped and white in color when first laid, but quickly turn yellow.[4] They are laid on the underside of the leaves of its host plant, often members of the legume family.[6] The larva is pale green with a narrow white stripe along its length on either side and very short hairs.[4] The chrysalis varies from pale green[7] to brown-black later in its life cycle.[5] They have two to four broods per year. They can be found year-round further south, but migrate north during the warmer summer months.[8]

Host plants[edit]

Similar species[edit]


  1. ^ Walker, A. (2020). "Abaeis nicippe". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T173005000A173005029. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T173005000A173005029.en. Retrieved 6 December 2022.
  2. ^ "NatureServe Explorer 2.0 Abaeis nicippe Sleepy Orange". explorer.natureserve.org. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Sleepy Orange Abaeis nicippe (Cramer, 1779)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. June 10, 2024. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sleepy Orange". Alabama Butterfly Atlas. June 10, 2024. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c "Florida's Wildflowers & Butterflies | Sleepy Orange". Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  6. ^ "Sleepy Orange - Pollinator Web". 2023-04-14. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  7. ^ Krotzer, Steve and Mary Jane. "Sleepy Orange". Haysop Hill Photography. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  8. ^ Webmaster, David Ratz. "Sleepy Orange - Montana Field Guide". fieldguide.mt.gov. Retrieved 2024-06-10.
  • Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-15312-8.
  • James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
  • Ernest M. Shull (1987). The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. ISBN 0-253-31292-2
  • Rick Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
  • David L. Wagner (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12143-5