On Aug 16, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:
Wing span: 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches (2 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Small, with elongated forewings. Upperside yellow with black markings, female with more extensive black than male. White form very rare. Underside of forewing with orange or yellow patch at base of wing and black spots at outer wing edge. Winter form has dusty green hindwing, summer form hindwing is pale yellow.
Life history: Males patrol a few inches above the ground in low areas for females. Females lay eggs singly on leaves of host plant seedlings. Adults rest with wings closed and held perpendicular to the sun's rays to warm themselves.
Flight: Throughout the year in peninsular Florida and South Texas. After overwintering as adults in the South, some migrate north in spring and summer. Flight of about 6 months in the north.
Caterpillar hosts: Low-growing plants in the aster family (Asteraceae) especially shepherd's needle (Bidens pilosa), sneezeweed (Helenium), fetid marigold (Dyssodia), and cultivated marigold (Tagetes).
Adult food: Nectars at Labrador tea, asters, wild marigold, rabbitbrush, and others.
Habitat: Open, dry places including coastal flats, weedy fields, grasslands, road edges, meadows, and hillsides.
Range: Resident in Guatemala north to peninsular Florida and the Southwest. Cannot survive cold winters, therefore every summer re-colonizes through the Great Plains to southeast Washington, southeast Idaho, Wyoming, and Minnesota.