Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur

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Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur

Freshly emerged female

Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur egg

Egg

Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur larva

Final instar larva

Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur

Freshly emerged female

Freshly emerged male

Freshly emerged male

Freshly emerged male

Description: 35-43 mm. This is a large sulphur. Males are bright yellow with an orange bar on the forewing and an orange bar along the hindwing margin. Underside is orange with mottled brown markings which are more intense in the winter months. Females vary greatly. Summer form is pale cream color above with brown dots on the forwing and along the hindwing margin. The winter forms can be yellow to bright orange with the same spots on the dorsal side. Female ventral side is more heavily marked than the males and they have a pair of silver dots on the ventral hindwing.

 

Habitat and Distribution: These butterflies fly anywhere that host plants are grown. Ornamental cassias have made urban populations flourish. They are most abundant in the pines of Big Pine Key but are found in various other Keys, mostly in heavily urban areas. 

 

Host Plant: Cassia species such as Cassia chapmanii, bahamensis, fistula, alota

 

Natural History: This was one of the species that captivated my interest in butterflies as a child. I would watch helplessly as they would circle and spiral high up in the air but would eventually blast down for a quick dring from our red hibiscus flowers on the side of the house. Their flight is very strong and powerful. This species established in Florida in the 1920's but is now locally abundant throughout South Florida. 

 

Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur pupa
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur pupa
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur egg

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Species Pages

Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur
Phoebis philea, Orange-barred Sulphur

Female ovipositing eggs

Female ovipositing eggs