Monday, April 5, 2010

Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

I was walking on the back trail at the park. I saw a small butterfly in the same place I saw a Spring Azure last week. It was about the same size and, from a distance, the pattern on the underside of the wing looked somewhat similar to the azure.

This butterfly was flitting from from one Hairy Bittercress flower to another. One thing that was unusual was that it didn’t immediately fold its wings when it landed. As I moved closer, I could see what looked like orange-brown tips on the upper side of the wings – not a Spring Azure. I had to get a photo. It would land for a few seconds to feed. I would manage to focus on it and it would fly off to another flower. I did manage to get a couple of photos in focus and was able to identify it as a Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea). The male has the orange wing tips; the female has white wing tips.

The Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea) belongs to the Subfamily Pierinae (Whites) in the Family Pieridae (Whites, Sulphurs, Yellows).
They occur in this area between late February and early June. This is the first time I have seen one.

He fed with wings open.

Although this photo is not in sharp focus, you can see a bit of the spotted pattern on the underside of the wing.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Westcentral Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

- BugGuide: Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea)

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