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Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Falcate Orangetip

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Flighty Falcate Orangetips move quickly, but the flashes of orange on the male's wings are hard to miss, even in dimly lit, dense woods.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Falcate Orangetip is a sexually dimorphic species. This means that males and females look different from each other, and in this case, the difference is the color of the wing tips. Males have bright orange in the upper corner of their forewings that really stands out on the white wing. A single black dot sits just below that orange patch. Females lack the orange color completely, though it may be replaced with a small bit of ashy gray instead. The single black dot may be just a bit larger on the female. Both sexes have a black-and-white checkered border around the wing tips and both have fuzzy, dark gray bodies on top that are white underneath. The underside of the wings is white with a black and gray marbling on the hindwing.

The caterpillar is white with a black 'back'. A yellow line runs down the 'spine' and is flanked by light blue or turquoise lines that are freckled with black dots of varying sizes. It feeds on wildflowers that bloom in spring, like rock cress, Spring Beauty, and toothwort. This caterpillar spends a great deal of time in chrysalis form with some extending this life stage through autumn and winter.

Look for flying adults in early and late spring near woodlands. They are fast in flight, so admire them for as long as they allow.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pieridae
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          Genus: Anthocharis
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            Species: midea

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Anthocharis midea
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 45mm (1.37" to 1.77")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; white; black
Descriptors: sexual dimorphic; orange wing tips; black dot on white wing; flying; speckled marbled underwing; black and white edge border; gray hairy body; fast

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 35mm (1.4in) and 45mm (1.8in)
Lo: 35mm
Md: 40mm
Hi: 45mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Falcate Orangetip may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Falcate Orangetip. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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