Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Butterflies, Moths and Skippers >>> Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless Sulphur

Phoebis sennae

Photo © by Robert Shantz

This male butterfly was photographed in Graham County, Arizona by Robert Shantz Sept. 2007. His wildlife gallery can be accessed at Photographs of Wildlife. Female Cloudless Sulphurs have a black border around the wing edges.

Pieridae -- White and Sulphur Butterfly Family

These large bright yellow butterflies mostly breed in Southeast Arizona and Mexico. After good summer rains they may disperse into the Sonoran Desert, occasionally in astounding numbers. Look for them August to October. The caterpillars feed on various members of the Ceasalpinioidae, a subfamily of the legumes that includes Desert Senna and Palo Verde. The males are solid yellow (sometimes with a greenish cast), but females have a black border and additional black spots.

These butterflies are frequent flower visitors. Seep Baccharis and Texas Bird of Paradise are favorites.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008