New Jersey Butterfly Club

A chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA)

Clouded Sulphur

Colias philodice

Identification: Small—1.8” (slightly larger than Cabbage White). Almost never seen with wings open. Below: FW and HW lemon yellow with dark dusting primarily on HW. White spot on HW circled by pink, and a dark spot on FW. Some females of Clouded Sulphur and Orange Sulphur are quite whitish instead of yellow or orange, especially on the topside seen in flight, and are not separable in the field. Extensive black wing margins above and presence of silvery spot on HW separate these white-form females from (the even whiter) Cabbage White.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Common and widespread throughout.

NJ Range Map-Clouded Sulphur

Habitat: Open, sunny, upland fields and meadows. Easily attracted to gardens with flowers such as Butterfly Bush, Purple Coneflower, asters, and milkweeds.

Flight Period: Several overlapping broods resulting in an extended flight period from April into October. Extreme dates: North Jersey 2/25-12/13; South Jersey 4/1-12/27.

Caterpillar Food Plants: Clovers, Alfalfa, and many other legumes.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Good Locations: Just about any open habitat.

Comments: Not always easy to separate from Orange Sulphur, especially when worn.


Clouded Sulphur

Roxbury Twp., Morris Co., NJ, 7/4/06, on Blackeyed Susan.


Clouded Sulphur

Kittatinny Valley SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/27/10, on Red Clover.


Clouded Sulphur

White-form female Clouded or Orange Sulphur, Kittatinny Valley SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/18/10, on Oxeye Daisy.


Clouded Sulphur Egg

Egg on clover.


Red Clover

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), a caterpillar food plant for Clouded Sulphur.