Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly (Phoebis sennae)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 2/15/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Cloudless Sulphurs migrate north in warmer months, stretching their typical range across the U.S. so everyone can see them in the summer.
Cloudless Sulphurs are prolific in the southern U.S. and Mexico where they can produce 3 or 4 broods a year. They migrate to the north every year where the cold weather limits them to 1 or 2 broods before returning south. This species closely resembles the Clouded Sulphur in both name and appearance. Both have similar yellow colors, with only slight variations in spot placement and forewing shape. These minute features help distinguish them from each other, if they are around long enough to study. Look for Cloudless Sulphurs in a variety of areas with flowers or mud puddles. They are versatile and wander through backyards, construction sites, woodland edges, parks, and fields in addition to tropical forests and beaches. They are strong, fast fliers, and seem to rarely stop long enough to take a proper rest.
The larvae of this species is completely yellow at first. It develops 10 black-brown bands which 'segment' it from head to rear. These black bands part to allow a thin green line in-between them. Black dots cover the yellow body and each black & green band ends in a black dot above the legs on each side of the body. The black/green bands fade away as the caterpillar prepares to pupate. The pupa resembles a yellow-green leaf, allowing it to blend into foliage. It prefers to feed on the leaves of senna, a type of flowering legume.