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Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)

Description: A mostly yellow butterfly, males have a sharply defined black margin on the upperside, females have a wider, somewhat more diffuse border with yellow spots. The underside of the hindwing has a large silver spot bordered by two red rings, usually a smaller adjacent spot, and a row of three to five small dark spots along the hind margin. The similar Pink-edged Sulphur is smaller, has narrower black borders, has a single red ringed spot on the hindwing and lacks the row of submarginal spots on the hindwing underside. Orange Sulphur bears the same markings as Clouded Sulphur but is distinctly orange instead of yellow and the female has a heavier, more complete, dark border. Wingspan: 32 to 54 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Throughout Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5. NS: S5. PEI: S5.

Flight Period: Late May to mid October.

Host Plant: A variety of legumes (Fabaceae), particularly clover (Trifolium spp.) and Alfalfa (Medicago sativa).

Notes: Both Clouded and Orange Sulphur have white morph females that are most common in late summer and fall. These white morphs retain the other wing markings, and the two species can be distinguished by the colour of the central spot on the upperside of the hindwing (dark yellow in Clouded Sulphur, orange in Orange Sulphur).
Clouded Sulphur can be found in a wide variety of open weedy habitats. It is often abundant in coastal areas in the late summer and fall.