clouded sulphur

(Colias philodice)

Conservation Status
clouded sulphur
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Clouded sulphur is a medium-sized to large butterfly.

On the male the upperside of both wings are yellow with a wide, solid, black border at the outer margins. There is a small black spot near the middle of the leading margin of the forewing and a small silver spot with an orange border on the hindwing. The female wings have fainter black markings and have yellow spots within the black border. Clouded sulphur rarely lands with wings open so these features are seldom useful in the field.

The underside of both wings is yellow with a row of small, faint, brown, submarginal spots. The hindwing has a double spot of silver rimmed with pink.

There is also a white-form female with greenish-white wings.

The caterpillar is green and up to 1 long. As with all caterpillars, there is a row of small, oval to round openings (spiracles) on the on each side of the body. The spiracles appear on the first segment of the thorax and the first through eighth segments of the abdomen. There is a white stripe in this spiracular area extending from just behind the head to the anal plate. The stripe is edged in black or dark green at the bottom and may have a thin bar of pink or orange in the center.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 1 to 2¾

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme) has at least some orange on the upperside of the hindwing, but this is only visible in flight. It often has some orange visible on the underside of the forewing. The black band on the outer margin of the upperside of the forewing is wider, but this is not distinguishable in the field.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields, lawns, roadsides, meadows, and other open areas.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two or three broods from mid-May to late October.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

They can often be seen in large numbers at mud puddles.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Females lay pale eggs singly near the center of a leaflet on host plants.

The last brood overwinters as pupae.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

White clover (Trifolium repens) and sweet clover (Melilotus spp) are the preferred hosts. Other foods include Alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. sativa), bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus var. corniculatus), vetches (Vicia), and other plants in the pea family (Fabaceae).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.

 
  7/9/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Pieridae (whites, yellows and sulphurs)  
 

Subfamily

Coliadinae (sulphurs and yellows)  
 

Genus

Colias  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

clouded sulphur

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Bill Reynolds

 
    clouded sulphur      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    clouded sulphur   clouded sulphur  
           
    clouded sulphur   clouded sulphur  
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Clouded Sulphurs
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Clouded Sulphurs  
 
About

Colias philodice

larva:

bugguide.net/node/view/8840/bgimage

 
Colias philodice (Clouded Sulphur)
Allen Chartier
  Colias philodice (Clouded Sulphur)  
Clouded/Orange Sulphur
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Clouded/Orange Sulphur  
Clouded Sulpher
jt893x
  Clouded Sulpher  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.
 
 

 

 
     
     
       
       
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Clouded Sulphur (Pieridae: Colias philodice) on Thistle Blossom
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 19, 2010

Photographed at the Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (19 August 2010).

 
  Clouded Sulphur
Bryan Glemboski
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 30, 2012

Clouded Sulphur at Potowome for the East Bay Butterfly Count, 6/30/12

 
  Clouded Sulphur (Pieridae: Colias philodice) on Grass Stem
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 29, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (28 July 2010).

 
  Clouded Sulphur butterfly
Quiscalus107
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 22, 2011

Short clip of a Clouded Sulphur butterfly that was attracted to the bright yellow toy left out on the lawn. It must've thought it was a flower

 
       

 

Camcorder


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