Sleepy Orange - Abaeis nicippe
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.8-2.8 cm. Uppersurface orange on both sets of wings with irregular black borders on costal and outer margins; orange-yellow form rare; male with black border sharply defined, female with inner edge of black border diffuse (especially on hindwing); forewing with small black cell spot. Undersurface of forewing with orange flush, hindwing in summer form orange-yellow with diagonal postmedian brown smudges, in winter form dull reddish.
Several flights all year in southern California, southern Texas, southern Florida; migratory northward, mostly summer records (Scott 1986). All year, central Texas to southeastern Arizona, March to September in southern California; mainly June through July elsewhere (Glassberg 2001). Early June to early August in Colorado (Brown 1957; Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978), mid-June to early July in Wyoming (Hardesty and Groothuis 1993), early September to late February in Hawaii (Rubinoff et al. 2015).
Best determined by a combination of dull to bright orange uppersurface with irregular black borders on costal and outer margins; male with black border sharply defined, female with inner edge of black border diffuse (especially on hindwing); forewing with small black cell spot; undersurface of hindwing with diagonal postmedian brown smudges.
Resident in the West Indies, Mexico, southern US; vagrant north to central US, rarely to Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1311 m to 3810 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), 1474 m elevation in Wyoming (Hardesty and Groothuis 1993), sea level to 2073 m elevation in Hawaii (Rubinoff et al. 2015). In Montana, one report in late July 1983 from West Glacier, Flathead County (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; Pyle 2002; S. Kohler pers. comm.) at 980 m elevation. Common to abundant all year in central Texas to southeastern Arizona, uncommon to common in southern California, rare to uncommon in one brood areas, rare stray elsewhere (Glassberg 2001).
Migratory. Movements primarily northward in autumn (Scott 1986; Walker 2001). Established on Oahu in 2013, since spread to several of the main Hawaiian Islands (Rubinoff et al. 2015).
Low areas in subtropical regions, dry washes, prairie, pine forest, open fields, farm land, roadsides, many other open habitats including above treeline in alpine terrain (Brown 1957; Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Rubinoff et al. 2015). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.
Larval foodplants are exotic and native members of the pea family, including Cassia (several species) and Trifolium (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Graves and Shapiro 2003; Rubinoff et al. 2015); adults visit other legumes but egg-laying not reported (Scott 2006). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Cardamine, Cirsium, Erigeron, Oxalis, Psilostrophe, Raphanus, Sedum, Symphyotrichum, Trifolium, Verbena, Viola) and mud (Tooker et al. 2002; Scott 2014; Rubinoff et al. 2015).
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves, sometimes on flower buds. Larvae eat host plant leaves, overwinter as adult only in the southern part of North American range (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992). Males patrol throughout the day mainly in gulches and over flat terrain in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Emmel, T.C. 1964. The ecology and distribution of butterflies in a montane community near Florissant, Colorado. American Midland Naturalist 72(2): 358-373.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Graves, S.D. and A.M. Shapiro. 2003.Exotics as host plants of the California butterfly fauna. Biological Conservation 110: 413-433.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- Hardesty, R.L. and D.R. Groothuis. 1993. Butterflies of the Laramie Mountains, Wyoming (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. 32: 107-123.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Kohler, S. 2017. Personal communication regarding records of Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippa) in Montana, 16 February 2017.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Rubinoff, D., J. Matsunaga, F. Starr, K. Starr, and W. Haines. 2015. The Sleepy Orange transits the Pacific: a new butterfly species for Hawaii. News of the Lepidopterists' Society 57(2): 72-73.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Tooker, J.F., P.F. Reagel, and L.M. Hanks. 2002. Nectar sources of day-flying lepidoptera of central Illinois. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 95(1): 84-96.
- Walker, T.J. 2001. Butterfly migrations in Florida: seasonal patterns and long-term changes. Environmental Entomology 30(6): 1052-1060.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
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