Butterfly: Wingspan: 2 to 2¾ inches (5.4 - 7.0 cm). Upper surface of males is lemon yellow with no markings. Female may be yellow or white; outer edges of both wings have irregular, patchy black borders; the upper forewing has a dark spot. Lower surface of hindwing of both sexes has 2 pink-edged silver spots.
ID Tip: Large yellow wings with no solid black wing edges
Egg: Spindle-shaped eggs first white, then quickly turn orange. They are laid singly on host leaves or flower buds.
Caterpillar: Color is variable: may be green with a bright yellow stripe; green with a bright yellow stripe and blue patches on the sides; yellow with bright yellow line on sides; yellow with bright yellow line on sides and black rings. All have varying degrees of short hairs that come from tiny black tubercles.
Chrysalis: Green, yellow or rosy in color. Greatly compressed from side to side. Resembles a leaf.
The Cloudless Sulphur is one of the most common and conspicuous butterfly species in Alabama. It flies from border to border throughout the spring and summer months. Autumn populations rise to astonishing numbers as northern migrants join local populations. During fall, southbound individuals are common sights along interstate highways and other roads, covering as many as twelve miles per day.
Cloudless Sulphurs have an exceptionally long proboscis (mouthpart) which allows them to access nectar from the same long-tubed plants that feed hummingbirds.
A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat. The High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.
The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.
The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.
The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to email@example.com.
Sightings in the following counties: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington, Wilcox, Winston
View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names
Open areas including agricultural lands, parks, roadsides, vacant fields, and gardens.
These host plants have been verified in Alabama: Common Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), Common Sensitive Plant (Chamaecrista nictitans), Coffeeweed/Sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia).
For more information about these plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the links above.
Plant Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) to support many sulphurs, including Cloudless Sulphurs.
Since Cloudless Sulphurs have an exceptionally long proboscis (mouthpart) they can access nectar from the same long-tubed plants that feed hummingbirds. Native azaleas (Rhododendron spp.), Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), and Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea) are among the nectar plants that will add beauty to your landscape as well as feed Cloudless Sulphur butterflies and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.
Click on individual photos to view a larger version that includes photo credits, county, and date.
Photos with comments are indicated by a small, tan dot on the bottom right.