Clouded Sulphur

photo by Andrew Cannizzaro CC BY

Clouded Sulphur butterflies (1.5-2.5 inch wingspan) have light yellow wings with a black border on the upper side. The females' wings have yellow spots in the black border. There is also a greenish-white version. The underside usually has 2 silver spots circled in pink. They are one of the most common and widespread North American butterflies reaching their greatest numbers in late summer and early fall.

Clouded Sulphurs can be found in open areas and are particularly common in fields with alfalfa and clover. The caterpillars are green with a dark stripe down their back and light stripes on their sides.

Clouded Sulphurs use their long tongue (proboscis) to drink nectar from a wide variety of flowers. They pick up pollen on their bodies and pass it along to the next flower they land on. Like other butterflies, they prefer brightly coloured flowers that provide landing platforms where they can rest while feeding.

Did you know? During courtship, the males slap their wings against the female. This releases pheromones. The female responds by lowering her abdomen, and they mate.

See Also: Admiral Butterfly, Azure Butterfly, Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar, Cabbage White, Compton Tortoiseshell, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hawk Moth, Monarch Butterfly, Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, Tent Caterpillar, Tiger Swallowtail