Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
Family: Pieridae (Whites and Sulfurs)

Genus/species: Phoebis philea 


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Upperside of male bright yellow-orange; forewing has red-orange bar, hindwing with red-orange outer margin. Female much larger than male with prominent dark spots along the upper forewing. Wing Span: 2 3/4 – 4 inches.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Resident from Brazil, north through Central America to peninsular Florida. Migrants appear sometimes along the Gulf States, in eastern Arizona and in New Mexico along the border. During dry years, some migrate to the Northeast. P. philea has been considered a transient resident of Southern California. Found in open lowland sites along forest edges. Also frequents gardens, parks, and road edges.

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DIET IN THE WILD: Caterpillar: Cassia species in the pea family; adult: nectar from various flowers.

REPRODUCTION: Females lay single eggs on leaves and flowers of host plants during the wet season. Caterpillars feed preferentially on the flowers.

REMARKS: These swift, high flyers have been reported as rare migrants as far north as Canada.


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