Image Credit: Clifford I. taken in the Arkansas River Valley, AR
The pale yellow Clouded Sulphur Butterfly is a common summertime guest in backyards and parks, happily flitting about the flowers.
Sulphur (also spelled sulfur) is a yellow nonmetal that is often associated with a rotten egg smell. The butterfly takes after this element's color, not its odor. Female Clouded Sulphurs have colors that range from bright yellow to greenish-white. Males are typically a richer, buttery yellow. Both genders have a double white spot on the forewing, though in males it is more visually pronounced with its dark border. Their front pair of legs are the same length as the others, whereas other families of butterflies have very short front legs. These long legs allow it to readily walk. This butterfly species is very similar in appearance to Orange Sulphurs (also in the Colias genus) and may be mistaken for them in the field. Clouded Sulphurs do not meander. Instead, they fly direct routes to their destination, though it may look sloppy.
Caterpillars are chubby and green with a black stripe along the body. They especially enjoy feeding on clover, but they will also eat the leaves of alfalfa and other bean plants. The medium-sized Clouded Sulphur butterfly can be seen flying in meadows, near puddles, along roads, in parks, crop fields, gardens, and various muddy places. They are comfortable in urban, suburban and rural environs, making it likely most people will see them sometimes during the spring, summer and fall months.
Scientific Name: Colias philodice
Other Name(s): Common Sulphur
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 51mm (1.37in to 1.99in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.