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Overview

Brief Summary

North American Ecology (US and Canada)

Migratory throughout much of North America with residents in the Southeastern United States and southern Arizona (Scott 1986). Habitats are OPEN OR BRUSHY AREAS. Host plants are usually herbaceous or shrubs with most known hosts largely restricted to one genus, Cassia, in Leguminosae. Eggs are laid on the host plant singly. There are multiple flights each year with the approximate flight time spring to fall in the northern part of the range and year-round in the southern part of their range (Scott 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Comprehensive Description

General comments

This information is based an ongoing project dedicated to the inventory and dissemination of information on lepidopteran larvae, their host plants, and their parasitoids in a Costa Rican tropical wet forest and an Ecuadorian montane cloud forest.


N=2 rearings as of 2012, both eclosed.

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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Southern California; states bordering Gulf of Mexico; Mexico. Emigrates north as far as Canada, and dies in the northern winters. Probably more or less hardy north to about coastal South Carolina.

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Collected in Heredia Province, Costa Rica.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: General: open, disturbed areas. Hosts may be Chamaecrista cinerea. Genus Cassia widely used eastward.

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Migration

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.

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Associations

Flowering Plants Visited by Phoebis sennae in Illinois

Phoebis sennae Linnaeus: Pieridae, Lepidoptera
(observations are from Robertson, Clinebell, Wist, Fothergill & Vaughn; this butterfly is the Cloudless Sulfur)

Asteraceae: Aster anomalus sn (Rb), Aster pilosus sn (Rb), Aster sagittifolius sn (Rb), Cirsium discolor sn (Rb), Echinacea angustifolia sn (Ws), Helianthus divaricatus sn (Rb), Liatris aspera sn (Cl), Taraxacum officinale sn (FV), Vernonia fasciculata sn (Rb); Convolvulaceae: Ipomoea lacunosa sn (FV); Fabaceae: Baptisia leucantha sn np (Rb), Trifolium pratense sn (Rb), Trifolium repens sn (Rb); Malvaceae: Abutilon theophrastii sn (Rb); Verbenaceae: Verbena stricta sn (Rb)

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Foodplant Associations

Fabaceae: Senna fruticosa, Pentaclethra macroloba

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Adults feed mainly from nectar and mud. Males patrol for females (Scott, 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Reproduction

Species shows strong sexual dimorphism.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Phoebis sennae

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 59 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

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.

NNTACATTATATTTTATTTTTGGAATTTGAGCAGGAATAGTAGGAACTTCTTTAAGTTTATTAATTCGAACAGAATTAGGTAATCCAGGATCTTTAATTGGAGATGATCAAATTTATAATACTATTGTAACGGCTCATGCTTTTATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCAATTATAATTGGTGGATTTGGTAATTGATTAGTACCATTAATATTAGGAGCTCCTGATATAGCCTTCCCACGTATAAATAATATAAGTTTTTGACTTTTACCCCCTTCATTAACATTATTAATTTCTAGAAGTATTGTTGAAAACGGAGCAGGTACAGGATGAACAGTTTATCCCCCACTTTCATCTAATATTGCTCATAGAGGTTCTTCAGTAGATTTAGCAATTTTTTCTTTACATTTAGCAGGAATTTCTTCTATTTTAGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTACAACTATTATTAATATACGAATTAATAGTATATCATTTGATCAAATACCTTTATTTGTTTGAGCAGTTGGTATTACTGCTTTACTTTTATTATTATCATTACCTGTTTTAGCAGGAGCTATTACTATATTATTAACAGATCGAAATTTAAATACTTCATTTTTTGATCCTGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCTATTTTATACCAACATTTATTTTGATNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Phoebis sennae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 46
Specimens with Barcodes: 105
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: One of most abundant Neotropical pierids.

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Threats

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

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Management

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Wikipedia

Phoebis sennae

The cloudless sulphur or cloudless giant sulphur (Phoebis sennae) is a midsized butterfly in the family Pieridae found in the New World. There are several similar species such as the yellow angled-sulphur (Anteos maerula), which has angled wings, or other sulphurs, which are much smaller.

Distribution[edit]

Their range is wide, from South America to southern Canada, in particular southwestern Ontario.[1] They are most common from Argentina to southern Texas and Florida, but are often visitors outside this range becoming more rare further north.

Habitat[edit]

The common habitats of this butterfly are open spaces, gardens, glades, seashores, and watercourses.

Habits[edit]

The adult butterfly feeds on nectar from many different flowers with long tubes including cordia, bougainvillea, cardinal flower, hibiscus, lantana, and wild morning glory.

Senna hebecarpa (American senna) is a larval host and nectar source for the cloudless giant sulphur butterfly in the Eastern United States. [2]

Life cycle[edit]

The breeding season is dependent on the climate of the area, from midsummer to fall in the cooler areas, to year-round where the climate is warmer.

Egg[edit]

The cloudless sulphur starts off as a pitcher-shaped white egg. Eventually it will turn to a pale orange. The egg stage lasts six days.

Caterpillar[edit]

Once the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges that is yellow to greenish, striped on sides, with black dots in rows across the back. The caterpillar will build a tent in a host plant where it hides in the day. The host plant may be partridge pea (Chamaecrista cinerea), sennas (Senna),[3] clovers (Trifolium), or other legumes (Fabaceae). The caterpillar will usually grow to a length between 41–45 mm (1.6–1.8 in).

Chrysalis[edit]

The caterpillar will form a chrysalis that is pointed at both ends and humped in the middle. The chrysalis will be either yellow or green with pink or green stripes. From the chrysalis comes a medium sized butterfly (55–70 mm (2.2–2.8 in)) with fairly elongated but not angled wings.

Adult[edit]

The male butterfly is clear yellow above and yellow or mottled with reddish brown below and the female is lemon-yellow to golden or white on both surfaces, with varying amounts of black spotting along the margin and a black open square or star on the bottom forewing. Wingspan: 63–78 mm (2.5–3.1 in).

Subspecies[edit]

Listed alphabetically.[4]

  • P. s. amphitrite (Feisthamel, 1839)
  • P. s. eubule[5]
  • P. s. marcellina (Cramer, [1779])
  • P. s. sennae

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cloudless Sulphur, Butterflies of Canada
  2. ^ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Information Network: ''Senna hebecarpa
  3. ^ Clark, Dale. "Phoebis sennae". Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  4. ^ Phoebis, funet.fi
  5. ^ Cloudless Sulphur, Butterflies of Canada
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