On Aug 16, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 3/4 inches (3.5 - 7 cm).
Identification: Quite variable. Upperside of male yellow with orange overlay, yellow veins, wide black border, and dark black cell spot. Female yellow or white with irregular black border surrounding light spots. Underside hindwing spot silver with 2 concentric dark rings, and a spot above it.
Life history: Males patrol for receptive females, who lay eggs singly on top of host plant leaves. Most feeding takes place at night. Young caterpillars chew holes in the tops of leaves, then later feed from the leaf tip. Older caterpillars eat half of the leaf before moving to the other half. Chrysalids overwinter.
Flight: Two-three flights in the north from June-October, 4-5 in the south from March-November.
Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) including alfalfa (Medicago sativa), white clover (Trifolium repens), and white sweet clover (Melilotus alba).
Adult food: Nectar from many kinds of flowers including dandelion, milkweeds, goldenrods, and asters.
Habitat: A wide variety of open sites, especially clover and alfalfa fields, mowed fields, vacant lots, meadows, road edges.
Range: Southern Canada to central Mexico, coast to coast in the United States except for the Florida peninsula.
Comments: One of the most widespread and common butterflies in North America.
On Mar 22, 2009, rampbrat from Abilene, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:
Early last Nov. I spent a Sat. watching and taking pictures of dozens of sulphurs enjoying the flowers in my yard . They loved my pink and red salvias, but they adored my lavender and blue scabiosa! I counted over 50 on the lavender alone. They were joined by a few other butterflies including a lone monarch.
On Oct 7, 2010, paulatc from Maggie Valley, NC wrote:
This butterfly finally stopped long enough to be photographed - they have been very "flighty" for most of the summer, and don't stop on one spot for very long. Very common in this area, but sometimes difficult to distinguish from other sulphurs, because it's hard to get them to stay still long enough!