Sleepy Orange ~ Abaeis nicippe

Family: Whites and Sulphurs (Pieridae)

Subfamily: Sulphurs (Coliadinae)

Identification: Upperside of wings orange in both sexes; orange-yellow form rare. Forewing with small black cell spot. Male with sharply defined black borders on outer and costal margins; female borders not so well-defined. In winter form, underside of hindwing is brick red, brown, or tan; in summer form it is orange-yellow.

Life history: Males patrol flats and gullies for females. Females lay eggs singly under host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves. Dry season form overwinters and lays eggs in spring.

Flight: Four-five flights, all year long, in southern Texas and Deep South. Mid- to late summer in the north.

Wing span: 1 3/8 – 2 1/4 inches (3.5 – 5.7 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Cassia species in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers, including shepherd’s needle (Bidens pilosa).

Habitat: Low elevation areas including pine flats, fields, desert scrub, gardens, vacant lots, road edges, and washes.

Range: Central America north to along the United States-Mexico border; vagrant to non-mountainous parts of the eastern U. S. south of 40 latitude; rare stray to Ontario, Connecticut, South Dakota, and Colorado.

Conservation: Not usually required.

NatureServe Global Status: G5 – Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

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