Currently viewing the category: "Whites and Sulfurs"

What type of sulphur butterfly is this?
Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM
I took a picture of this butterfly while in South Florida on the edge of the Loxahatchee River. I would say the plants in the area are typical of south florida and or wetlands. I found various sulphur butterflies, but I could not find any that were the same green color and am hoping you could help me to identify it.
Riverbend Park, Jupiter Florida

Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur

Dear Madcalabrian,
This sure looks like a Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae, to us.  According to BugGuide, the Cloudless Sulphur may be identifiede by the following description:  “upperside of male wings lemon yellow or pale greenish-yellow with no markings; female forewing with small dark spot, usually a narrow blackish outer margin, and a few vague dark dots near tip. Underside of hindwing with two silver black-rimmed spots in both sexes.”  This butterfly breeds in the Southern states and strays north in the fall.

Australian Caper Gull
Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 1:17 AM
Hi guys,
Had my first photo opportunity with this Australian Caper Gull (Cepora perimale scyllara ) when it got interested in the Basil in my garden. There are a few of them around but they are usually very flighty and hard to get close to. Hope you like it.
Queensland, Australia

Australian Caper Gull

Australian Caper Gull

Hi Trevor,
Once again, thanks for contributing a new species to our expanding selection of Bugs Down Under.  We are linking to a James Cook University website with additional information on the Australian Caper Gull, a butterfly in the family Pieridae that includes Whites and Sulfurs.

Complete butterfly life cycle in central Missouri
I tried (and probably failed) to send pictures of the caterpillar and cocoon I had in my classroom.

The day he hatched, the cocoon turned transparent, and it hatched on September 10. We released it the next day. Attached are pictures of the caterpillar, his cocoon right after he completed it,

the cocoon just before it hatched,

a picture of him right after he hatched, still drying and next to his empty cocoon, and a final picture of him on a plant in our classroom. I unfortunately could not get a shot of his spread wings, but they were solid yellow, with a very narrow band of black at the edges. If you’d like, we took a few pictures of his face and wings with our hand-held microscope, which I can try to copy over and send if you’d like some 10x magnification views of him. Just let me know! Love your site,
Science Teacher in Missouri

Dear Science Teacher,
Your documentation of what we believe to be a Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae, are greatly appreciated. The image of the transparent chrysalis is most interesting. You can find out more about this species on BugGuide.

odd sulphur butterfly?
We found this little guy/gal in our kitchen the night my husbands father passed away. we defintiely believe in the fact that this was a message from him…. It doesnt look like any other cloudless or clouded sulphurs ive seen anywhere else- but we’d just like to know the definite name if you know… thanks!

Hi Brianne,
The Cabbage Butterfly, Pieris rapae, is one of our commonest butterflies, but it is not native. It was accidentally introduced to Quebec from Europe in the 1860s and quickly spread across the continent, reaching Los Angeles in the late 19th Century. The green caterpillars feed on cabbage and other wild and domestic plants in the family Brassicacaea. The Cabbage Butterfly is one of the Whites in the same family as the Sulphurs, Pieridae.

Hi bugman,
I looked for these butterflies on your site, but couldn’t find them; one seems to look like a sulfur butterfly, but, it is all-yellow and doesn’t have the spots that the one on your site has. And about the other picture with the two small camouflaged butterflies, let me tell you that right now there is an invasion of epic proportions of this species of butterfly here in northern Mexico (Piedras Negras to be exact). I can’t drive without seeing thousands of butterflies of this same species floating all over the street. In my home garden alone there are like two thousand of these (and it is a relatively small garden). If it isn’t too much trouble I would love it if you could tell me more about this butterfly species, I’ve lived here for 17 years and had never seen so many butterflies in my life! Thanks,

Cloudless Sulphur American Snouts

Hola Humberto,
Your Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae, is gorgeous. It is one of the least clouded we have ever seen. The male, like yours, is a clear yellow while the female has markings. The other butterflies are American Snouts, Libytheana carinenta. Our Butterflies through Binoculars, the West book claims: “Sometimes swarming in the millions (in the Rio Grande Valley), this is the chameleon of the butterfly world.”

Update:  November 6, 2011
Possible Incorrect ID
November 6, 2011 6:36 pm
2006/07/20/cloudless-sulphur-and-american-snouts/  I believe the sulphur butterfly in this photograph is the Orange-barred, not Cloudless Sulphur.  As always, I find your site a most wonderful way to spend a relaxing hour or two.
Signature: Edith Smith

Hi Edith,
Thanks so much for submitting your comments.  We are happy to hear that you have such a high opinion of our website.  We are linking to your Butterfly Fun Facts website and featuring this letter after many years in our efforts to promote habitat for native butterflies.

ED. Note:  November 6, 2011
Jeffrey Glassberg in Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West writes of the American Snout:  “”Sometimes swarming in the millions (in the Rio Grade Valley), this is the chameleon of the butterfly world.  When you are searching for a special butterfly, American Souts wil magically assume the appearance of that butterfly, or perhaps it’s vice versa.  Butterflies as varied as Chisos Banded Skippers, Red Satyrs, and a large hairstreak with a silvery reflection, have all turned into American Snouts right before my eyes1  A Rorschach test for butterfliers.” 


tropical checkered skipper
Hi there —
I didn’t notice this one in your nifty collection yet. This male tropical checkered skipper is actually rather small, only about an inch and a half across. Were it not for the ability to take a close photo, I’d never have identified it. There are lots of these around. This was taken in my back yard. The butterfly below the skipper, however, I have been unable to identify. It was a fast mover, and this was the only half decent photo I could get, on a bad angle, as you can see. It was perhaps the size of a cabbage butterfly. I wish I could have gotten a shot of it with wings open, but it was not to be. Any ideas?
Joanne Wilson
West Palm Beach, FL

Tropical Checkered Skipper Sleepy Orange

Hi Joanne,
Your letter represents two new species for us. The Tropical Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus oileus, is a southern species. According to our Butterflies through Binoculars Book by Jeffrey Glassberg: “You’ll need your close focusing binoculars and some patience to get good looks at these animals, but your efforts will be rewarded.” WE are almost certain your other butterfly is a Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe. The name sleepy does not refer to the flight which is quite frisky, though close to the ground. Sleepy refers to spots on the wings that resemble closed eyes. The food of the caterpillar is cassia.