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Large Orange Sulphur
Phoebis agarithe
Pieridae

Description:
Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 3-3/8 inches. The upperside of the male is bright orange with no markings; that of the female is pinkish-white or yellowish-orange. The underside of the forewing has a diagonal straight line near the margin. The winter form has heavier markings on the underside. The caterpillar has a green head and a yellowish-green body with a yellow line on the side; some caterpillars have blue spots.
Range:
Central and South Florida; southern Texas south through Central America to Peru.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Uncommon May-December in Central Florida, common to abundant all year in South Florida, abundant all year in the Keys; strays north to other states in mid- to late summer. Caterpillars present throughout the year.
Habitat(s):
Tropical and coastal hammocks, woodland edges and open areas such as gardens, pastures, road edges, and parks.
Reproduction:
Three or more broods per year. The slender, whitish eggs are laid on the new growth of the host plants.
Natural History:
These butterflies fly rapidly above the tree canopy and between the islands in the Florida Keys.
Food:
Caterpillars feed on the young leaves of host plants. Native larval host plants include cat's-claw (Pithecellobium unguis-cati) and wild-tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum). Nectar plants include the native wild-sage (Lantana involucrata), the weedy Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata) and the nonnative Madagascar periwinkle (Catharantus roseus), paper flower (Bougainvillea glabra), and Turk's cap (Malaviscus arboreus) and various species of Hibiscus.
Comments:
For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America.


 


Beryn Harty
Female.
Beryn Harty
Beryn Harty
Eggs.
Beryn Harty
Eggs.