Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Orange Sulphur - Colias eurytheme

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5


Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:



External Links





 
General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.2-3.1 cm. Highly variable, wing fringes narrowly pink. Uppersurface of male and normal female with at least orange patch in central portion of each wing with clear yellow to extensive golden-orange, borders broadly black; female with pale spots in dark forewing border, also sometimes off-white instead of yellow. Undersurface of forewing with orange flush, often a few dark post-median spots; hindwing with double cell spot (upper spot tiny) and with double pink ring, a dark smudge near center of leading wing margin, a few dark post-median spots.

Phenology
Many flights, spring to fall (Scott 1986). Mainly early spring to fall, June to September in northern part of range (Glassberg 2001). April to October in Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-April through October in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), late March to early November in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), late February to mid-December in Oregon (Warren 2005), April to October in British Columbia (Threatful 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by combination of uppersurface with at least orange patch in central portion of each wing with clear yellow to extensive golden-orange, borders broadly black; female with pale spots in dark forewing border, also sometimes off-white instead of yellow. Undersurface of hindwing with double cell spot (upper spot tiny) and with double pink ring, a dark smudge near center of leading wing margin, a few dark post-median spots.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions

Native
 


Range Comments
Across central Canada south through the US to central Mexico (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); above 1219 m to at least 3810 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), sea level to at least 2743 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005), 456 m to 762 m elevation in southeastern British Columbia (Threatful 1988). In Montana, reported from all counties (Kohler 1980, Stanford and Opler 1993). Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 29

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

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



Migration
Seasonal immigrant in north, resident over much of North American range. Generally, no resident populations in north because unable to survive northern winters (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011).

Habitat
A wide variety of open habitats, alfalfa fields and other agricultural lands, urban lawns and gardens, fields, deserts, prairie, foothills, roadsides, forest edges, montane meadows, above treeline in alpine terrain (Emmel 1964; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Threatful 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from mesic montane meadows and above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993); in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, reported from fields, meadows, cultivated lands, roadsides (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).

Food Habits
Larval food plants are members of the pea family, and include exotic and native Astragalus (several species), Baptista, Cassia, Coronilla, Glycine, Glycyrrhiza, Lathyrus, Lespedeza, Lotus (several species), Lupinus (several species), Medicago (multiple species), Melilotus, Phaseolus, Pisum, Psoralea, Sebania, Sphaerophysa, Swainsona, Thermopsis, Trifolium (several species), and Vicea (several species) (Emmel et al. 1970; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Graves and Shapiro 2003; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Apocynum, Aquilegia, Arnica, Asclepias, Astragalus, Berteroa, Bidens, Buddleja, Carduus, Centaurea, Chrysanthemum, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Cleome, Convolvulus, Coronilla, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Erysimum, Gaillardia, Geranium, Grindelia, Gutierrezia, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Heterotheca, Lathyrus, Liatris, Linaria, Lobelia, Lotus, Machaeranthera, Medicago, Melilotus, Mentha, Musineon, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Phlox, Ratibida, Rubus, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Sedum, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Syringa, Tagetes, Taraxacum, Trifolium, Verbena, Verbesina, Viola, Zinnia) and mud (Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves (usually uppersurface), may lay 700 or more eggs during lifetime, adult lifespan up to 39 days (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006). Eggs hatch in 4-5 days (depending on temperature), reach L5 instar and pupate in about 15-27 days after egg-hatch (James and Nunnallee 2011). Larvae feed on host plant leaves, build no nest, overwinter as L3-L4 instars and pupae (Scott 1979, 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day in open areas, regardless of topography, in search of females (Scott 1975; James and Nunnallee 2011).

References
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Orange Sulphur — Colias eurytheme.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from