Maui Cloudless Sulphur
Location: Waiehu, Maui
January 8, 2011 8:39 am
Aloha – found this bright one flitting about the shoreline in Waiehu. He settled on a naupaka kahakai which almost matched his coloring. It was very sensitive to my presence, so this is as close as I got without spooking him away. Being at the beach, with the bright yellow coloring, he stood out against the green naupaka and the sand colors.
A hui hou (until we meet again) ~
Whenever we post a letter of a new species, or a familiar species in an unfamiliar location, we try to link to some other site to provide a reference. We went to the Butterflies of Hawaii Website and it indicates that the Large Orange Sulphur, Phoebis agarithe, is a newly recorded species that is known from Maui. The University of Hawaii Insect Museum website does not picture any species in the family Pieridae. We also found a Webshots Butterflies of Hawaii website, but again, the only Sulphur pictured is the Large Orange Sulphur. Perhaps the Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae (see BugGuide), has also been introduced to Hawaii, but we cannot locate any internet reference to support that. We are more comfortable identifying this as a Large Orange Sulphur, but there isn’t enough detail in your photograph to be certain.
Aloha Daniel –
Thanks for the speedy reply, as usual.
Hmmmm. What info do you need to further clarify – the size of the leaf it was on? Or?
Couldn’t get any closer – it bolted once from that area and came back.
Don’t know if it will be back there again and I don’t get over there often.
We certainly have the food sources it likes as an adult – hibiscus and bouganvilla are plentiful.
Happy weekend ~
Hi Again Eliza,
If you compare the description and images of the Large Orange Sulphur on BugGuide with those of the Cloudless Sulphur on BugGuide, you will see that the two species are quite similar, hence our reluctance. Our identification was based on the Large Orange Sulphur being well documented on Hawaii and there being no reports of the Cloudless Sulphur on Hawaii that we can find. With that said, it is entirely possible the the Cloudless Sulphur has been introduced to Hawaii.
Appreciate the information, Daniel.
Understand now what I was not grokking.
Too bad that this yellow butterfly is considered ‘orange’.
If I can take a photo one with its wings open, I’ll send that on. But who knows when that will be. This is first time I’ve ever seen this butterfly, much less have a camera at hand.
Happy Sunday evening~
Again Eliza, we cannot totally discount that this may be a Cloudless Sulphur. We did need to increase our vocabulary by researching “grokking.”
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein is the source of grok, Daniel.
I do understand why you lean towards the Orange vs the Cloudless. Totally reasonable deduction. Truly… not a problem that I was in error! Always happy to have clarification when there’s a piece of data I am not aware of.