North American Ecology (US and Canada)
Males have orange coloration on tips of forewings, but females do not.
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Connecticut (apparently formerly Massachusetts) to coastal Georgia, and west to Missouri and Texas. Widespread but local.
endemic to a single nation
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Comments: Open areas in deciduous forests or pine barrens, especially in moist riaprian areas or on dry open ridge tops, glades and various kinds of barrens (such as serpentine and shale). Larval hosts are in family Brassicaceae. Becoming increasingly rare in richer forests due to invasive exotics, especially garlic mustard, but populations in xeric habitats are generally unaffected. Adults and larvae are not found more than a few meters from trees but ecotones between fields and woods are common habitats at least in coastal plain. Since pupation is up in small trees or shrubs this species can utilize plowed or burned fields successfully as long as such disturbances are not during the larval period. Grassland/herbaceous and odl field checkoffs are not indicated because only their edges are normally used.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Flowering Plants Visited by Anthocharis midea in Illinois
(this observation is from Fothergill & Vaughn; this butterfly is the Falcate Orangetip)
Asteraceae: Taraxacum officinale sn (FV)
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anthocharis midea
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Subspecies ANNICKAE is widespread and can adapt to some weedy situations. While there is a serious threat in some parts of the range the species seems quite secure in some others.
Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable
Comments: This species is threatened in significant areas by the spread of garlic mustard which is out competing certain native foodplants and upon which females oviposit. The plant is lethal to the larvae. While this threat will probably eliminate the species in some areas, perhaps widely on the piedmont, where it is using relatively rich forest habitats, A. M. ANNICKAE should still be secure in areas where it now utilizes mainly xeric or unforested habitats.
Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed
The Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea) is a North American butterfly that was described in 1809 by Jacob Hübner. It belongs to the family Pieridae which is the white and sulphurs. These butterflies are mostly seen on the eastern side of the United States, particularly in Texas and Oklahoma. They eat the nectar of violets and mustards. They tend to live in open, wet woods along waterways, in open swamps, and less often in dry woods and ridgetops. The Falcate Orangetip is a true spring time butterfly, being on the wing from April-May (March-May in southern Texas).
The upper side of the male's forewing is orange, but females lack this. Both have a round black spot located in the cell. The underside of the hindwing usually has intricate green-marbling. The orangetips have a wingspan of around 3.5-4.5 centimeters.
The only similar species in the Falcate Orangetip's range is the Olympia Marble Euchloe olympia. The upper side of the Olympia Marble's forewing has a grayish-black apex and the underside of the hindwing has yellow-green marbling.
Males patrol on hilltops and flats all day seeking females. Females lay their eggs singly on host plant flowers. The eggs are yellow-green but turn red just before hatching. The larvae feed mainly at night and prefer to eat flowers, flower buds, and seed pots rather than leaves. They are also cannibalistic, devouring smaller larvae that may be feeding on the same plant. The larva is an olive-green color with a yellow middorsal stripe. There is a white spiracular stripe that runs the length of the body. It has short hairs and is covered with tiny black dots. It can grow up to 3 centimeters long. The larvae pupate in mid June. The chrysalis is a yellowish color and is covered with black spots. It also has a spike-like projection on the head which makes it look somewhat like a thorn. The chrysalis may overwinter for two or more years. It has 1 brood per year.
Here is a list of host plants used by the Falcate Orangetip:
- Arabis glabra
- Arabidopsis lyrata
- Arabis serotina
- Barbarea verna
- Boechera canadensis
- Boechera grahamii
- Boechera laevigata
- Cardamine angustata
- Cardamine bulbosa
- Cardamine concatenata
- Cardamine diphylla
- Cardamine hirsuta
- Cardamine parviflora
- Lepidium densiflorum
- James A. Scott 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
- David L. Wagner 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12144-3
- Rick Cech and Guy Tudor 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Species is also classified as FALCAPICA MIDEA. ANTHOCHARIS is sometimes (incorrectly) spelled ANTHOCARIS. Subspecies MIDEA (coastal plain of Carolinas and Georgia) is very distinctive and apparently disjunct. Subspecies ANNICKAE (including TEXANAE Gatrelle, 1998) occupies almost the entire range.
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