North American Ecology (US and Canada)
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Subspecies AGARITHE, Texas and Mexico, wandering to Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas. Subspecies MAXIMA reaches southern Florida.
Comments: Clearings, edges of subtropical scrub, thorn forest. Hosts are Pithecellobium guadelupense, P. unguiscati, genus Inga.
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.
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
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Phoebis agarithe
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phoebis agarithe
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 38
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread, common, weedy Neotropical species.
Degree of Threat: D : Unthreatened throughout its range, communities may be threatened in minor portions of the range or degree of variation falls within natural variation
Global Protection: Unknown whether any occurrences are appropriately protected and managed
The orange giant sulphur or large orange sulphur (Phoebis agarithe) is a butterfly in the Pieridae family. It is found from Peru north to southern Texas and peninsular Florida. Rare strays can be found up to Colorado, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. The species has also been introduced in Hawaii. The habitat consists of open, tropical lowlands including gardens, pastures, road edges, trails and parks.
The wingspan is 57–86 mm (2.2–3.4 in). The upper surface of the males is bright orange without markings. There are two female forms, a pink-white and yellow-orange form. The underside of the forewings of both sexes has a straight submarginal line. There are two seasonal forms: the winter form has heavier underside markings. Adults are on wing from August to September in southern Texas and all year round in the tropics. They feed on flower nectar, favoring lantana, shepherd's needle, bougainvillea, rose periwinkle, Turk's cap and hibiscus.
The following subspecies are recognised:
- Phoebis agarithe agarithe (Texas, Mexico)
- Phoebis agarithe fischeri (H. Edwards, 1883) (Baja California)
- Phoebis agarithe maxima (Neumoegen, 1891) (Florida)
- Phoebis agarithe antillia Brown, 1929 (Haiti)
- Phoebis agarithe pupillata Dillon, 1947 (Dominica)
- Phoebis agarithe tumbesina Lamas, 1981 (Peru)
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