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.


summer, yellow, orange, butterfly, bright, sunny, macro, wings, butterflies, lisa, sleepy, visionary, whites, putman, sulfer, pieridae, abaeis, nicippe, coliadinae


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