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Barred Sulphur Butterfly
Eurema daira
barred sulphur butterfly
Barred sulphur butterfly, found along Lake Ida Road, west of Delray Beach, Palm Beach County.
Barred Sulphur Butterfly

Remember this name: Eurema daira. If you Google barred sulphur butterfly, chances are you're going to get a ton of hits for the orange-barred sulphur butterfly. However, if you Google Eurema daira, you'll get this guy, the barred sulphur butterfly.

It's actually a common butterfly throughout Florida, found in all 67 counties, and throughout the southeastern United States, particularly along the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. But apparently it gets overshadowed by the more spectacularly colored orange, at least on the Internet.

You'll find the barred sulphur fluttering about fields, scrubs, roadsides, ditches and open pine woodlands. In flight, it looks white. But if you get a glimpse of it when it lights, it's a peppery pale or bright yellow, depending on the time of the year — brighter in winter, less so in summer.

Not only does the barred sulphur's looks vary by season, they vary by sex. Males have more distinct black markings on their wings than the females. Barred sulphurs are on the smaller side, with a wingspan that goes between t an inch and a quarter to nearly an inch and three quarters, give or take. The edge of the wings will have an orange tinge.

Host plants include members of the pea family, includeing joint vetches, while adults will nectar on a wide variety of flowers, including vetches and the ubiquitous Spanish needles. They're active, or in flight, throughout the year in Florida, and in most of the southern parts of their range, producing three or more generations a year. When they stray north, they're limited to late summer and early fall.

Barred Sulphur Butterfly

Although their primary range is the Southeast, there's a population in the Southwest, including parts of Arizona, and they will wander as far north as Washington, D.C., and even South Dakota. The southward limits of the barred sulphur's range extends through Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America to Argentina.

Overall, barred sulphurs are considered weak flyers. Males spend their time patrolling for receptive females. Fertilized females will deposit their eggs singly on mature leaves of one of its host plants. The eggs are white-yellow; the larvae, or caterpillars are green, with a white or yellow stripe along the side. Adults who overwinter pause in reproducing.

The barred sulphur is a member of Pieridae, the family of white and sulphur butterflies. Other common names include barred yellow. Note: barred yellow is also used as the common name for two species of moth.

Photographs by David Sedore
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.