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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Pink-edged Sulphur - Colias interior


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.3-2.6 cm. Prominent bright pink wing fringes, wings noticeably rounded, base color bright yellow in males, light yellow to whitish in females. Uppersurface with small black forewing cell spot and orange hindwing cell spot, male forewing with black border curved and narrow (wider at wingtip), extending to hindwing; females with reduced black border, hindwing without black. Undersurface of forewing with open cell end-bar, hindwing yellow with single round pearly cell spot heavily rimmed in dark pink, post-median spots absent.

Phenology
One flight, mostly mid-June to mid-August, mid-July to mid-August in Newfoundland and Saskatchewan (Scott 1986). Mainly late Jun to August (Glassberg 2001). June to August in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), early June to mid-September in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), mid-June to late August in Oregon (Warren 2005), June and July in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by combination of bright pink wing fringes, wings noticeably rounded, forewing with black border curved and narrow (wider at wingtip), hindwing yellow with single round pearly cell spot heavily rimmed in dark pink, post-median spots absent.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
British Columbia to central Oregon, east through northern Idaho, western Montana, boreal Canada and Great Lakes region to Maritime Provinces and northern New England; isolated populations in central Appalachians (Scott 1986; Ferris 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 792 m to at least 2134 m elevation in Oregon (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from at least 21 counties in the western 1/3 of the state (Kohler 1980; Ferris 1988; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), to at least 2212 m elevation. Uncommon to common (Glassberg 2001).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 2

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Boggy areas, Vaccinium-rich mesic montane meadows, power line cuts, roadsides, logged and burned sites (Ferris and Brown 1981; Ferris 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from mesic montane meadows (Debinski 1993); in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem reported from burned-over brush land with Vaccinium and willow-sedge meadows (Debinski and Pritchard 2002; Debinski et al. 2013).

Food Habits
Larval food plants included several species of Vaccinium (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Ferris 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Lotus, Prunella, Senecio, Taraxacum, Trifolium, other meadow composites) and mud (Scott 1986; Ferris 1988; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly, usually on upper surface of host plant leaves. Eggs hatch in about 4 days (depending on temperature), develop from L1 instar to L3 instar and enter dormancy (hibernate) in about 11-15 days (Ae 1958; James and Nunnallee 2011). After exiting dormancy L3 instar develop to L5 instar and pupae in about 31 days, adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in 6-17 days, depending on temperature (Ae 1958; James and Nunnallee 2011); some larvae return to dormancy suggesting possible 2-year life cycle by some individuals. Young larvae skeletonize leaves as they feed, overwinter as L3 instar (L1 and L2 instar reported), older larvae cannibalistic in captivity, larvae rest on upper surface of leaf on midrib, pupate on host plant twigs (Scott 1979, 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol slowly over large areas in openings in search of females (Scott 1986; Ferris 1988; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Pink-edged Sulphur — Colias interior.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from