Cloudless Sulphur

Phoebis sennae

Summary 5

The Cloudless Sulphur or Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a midsized butterfly in the family Pieridae found in the New World. There are several similar species such as the Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea) and the Statira Sulphur (Aphrissa statira). Both of these species are larger than the Cloudless Sulphur.

When observing the giant sulphurs, it is best to collect and verify their identities, because the best characters to separate them is on the upperside of the forewing.

Description 6

Upper surface of male is lemon yellow with no markings. Female is yellow or white; outer edges of both wings with irregular black borders; upper forewing with dark spot in cell. Lower surface of hind wing of both sexes with 2 pink-edged silver spots.
Wing Span: 2 1/4 - 3 1/8 inches (5.7 - 8 cm).

Larva description 6

Abdomen is yellow to greenish, striped on sides, with black dots in rows across the back. The caterpillar will build a tent in a host plant where it hides in the day. The caterpillar will usually grow to a length between 41–45 mm (1.6–1.8 in).

Larval host plant 6

The host plant may be partridge pea (Chamaecrista cinerea), sennas (Senna),[3] clovers (Trifolium), or other legumes (Fabaceae).

GTM Occurrence 6

The Cloudless Sulphur is common in the GTM. It is most abundant in the open habitat along Transect A and in the forest Transects it is most common in the Marsh Pond Overlook (Transect B). It also occurs along Transects C and D, but much less common. This species occurs year round and is most abundant in the spring (March and April) and again in late summer (August and September). Only two specimens have been observed in June. There have been 202 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 7

Global Range: Southern California; states bordering Gulf of Mexico; Mexico. Emigrates north as far as Canada, and dies in the northern winters. Probably more or less hardy north to about coastal South Carolina.

Habitat 8

Comments: General: open, disturbed areas. Hosts may be Chamaecrista cinerea. Genus Cassia widely used eastward.

Nature serve conservation status 9

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: One of most abundant Neotropical pierids.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Bob Peterson, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.flickr.com/photos/pondapple/7800769444/
  2. (c) Richard Crook, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardwc/5973733840/
  3. (c) Bob Peterson, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.flickr.com/photos/pondapple/10532557535/
  4. (c) Mary Keim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/38514062@N03/4899806858/
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebis_sennae
  6. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  7. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28745744
  8. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28745750
  9. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28745738

More Info

iNat Map

Category name Common
Member of the iNaturalist Network   |   Powered by iNaturalist open source software