Cloudless Sulphur (butterfly)

Cloudless Sulphurs are butterflies in the family Pieridae. They are commonly found in open spaces, gardens, glades, seashores, and watercourses. Their range is wide – from South America to southern Canada; they are most common from Argentina to southern Texas and Florida. They are often visitors outside this range but become rarer further north. The breeding season is dependant on the climate of the area, from mid-summer to fall in the cooler areas, to year-round where the climate is warmer.

There are several similar species such as the Yellow Alged Sulphur which has angled wings or other sulphurs which are much smaller.

Life Cycle

The Cloudless Sulphur starts life as a pitcher-shaped white egg, eventually turning to a pale orange. Once the egg hatches, a yellow to greenish caterpillar emerges. This caterpillar is also characterized by striped on its sides and the black dots in rows across its back. The caterpillar builds a tent in a host plant where it hides in the day, which may be partridge pea (Chamaecrista cinerea), sennas (Cassia), clovers (Trifolium), or other legumes (Fabaceae). The caterpillar grows to a length between 1 5/8-1 3/4 in. The caterpillar will form a chrysalis that is pointed at both ends and humped in the middle. The chrysalis will be either yellow or green with pink or green stripes. From the chrysalis comes a large butterfly (2 1/8-2 3/4″) with fairly elongated but not angled wings. The male butterfly is clear yellow above and yellow or mottled with reddish brown below and the female is lemon-yellow to golden or white on both surfaces, with varying amounts of black spotting along the margin and a black open square or star on the bottom forewing. The adult butterfly feeds on nectar from many different flowers with long tubes including cordia, bougainvilla, cardinal flower, hibiscus, lantana, and wild morning glory.