Colias eurytheme (aka Orange
This butterfly has a wingspan
of 1¼-2½ inches. It is distinguished from other
sulphurs by its orange-yellow wings edged in
black. The forewing often has prominent black
spots, while the hindwing has a slightly deeper
orange or yellow spot. The upperside of the male
is yellow with orange overlay and yellow veins;
the female is usually yellow or white with an
irregular black border surrounding light spots.
One of the most common
butterflies in North America, the alfalfa is
found from southern Canada into central Mexico,
except for the Florida peninsula. It is extremely
adaptable to a variety of habitats, from
woodlands to meadows to tundra and alpine
Adult alfalfa butterflies are
most commonly seen from midsummer to autumn, when
the plants on which their caterpillars feed are
in full bloom. After emerging from their pupal
stage, adult males will patrol their
"neighborhoods" for receptive females.
The reddish eggs are laid singly on top of the
host plant leaves, and will hatch in 3-10 days.
The alfalfa caterpillar can be distinguished by
its velvety green body with a narrow, white
stripe running down each side. The caterpillar
may reach a length of about 15 inches before it
enters the pupal stage. Some parts of the
alfalfa's range may enjoy two or three flights of
adult alfafas in a good year.
Alfalfa larvae feed on alfalfa,
clover and legumes, while adults feed on nectar
from a variety of flowers, including dandelions,
milkweeds, goldenrods and astera.
genus & species Colias eurytheme
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