Colias interior Scudder, 1862
NatureServe Global Rank: G5
Virginia State Rank: S1S2
VA DGIF Tier: IV
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Pink-edged Sulphur is a medium sized butterfly with dorsal wings mostly yellow in color. The males have black borders on the outer wings while the females have hazy black borders mainly towards the apex on the front wings. The ventral side is pale greenish yellow with a single hollow dot on each wing and pink edges at the fringe of the wings.
Similar species: The Pink-edged Sulphur is very similar to the other Sulphur (Colias) species found in the area. The Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) may be mostly orange on the dorsal, but will have at least some orange even in its yellow form. The Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice) is always yellow on the dorsal side, but the black spots in the front wings are more obvious and the black borders are much wider in the females. The wings seem to be less elongated than the Pink-edged Sulphur. On the ventral side, the Pink-edged Sulphur displays a single hollow, pink-lined spot while the other Colias species have a smaller spot present as well.
North American Range: The Pink-edged Sulphur is mainly a northern species with an isolated population in the Virginia/West Virginia highlands.
VA Observations by Locality: Highland | Giles | Highland | Highland
Flight season and broods: There is a single extended brood from mid-June to early September.
Habitat and Food Plants: The Pink-edged Sulphur is most commonly found in fields and roadsides, but also other open habitats, where weedy nectar abounds. They nectar at a large number of flowers but seem to avoid white flowers, and also visit moist earth to imbibe moisture. The caterpillars feed on plants in the genus Vaccinium, or blueberry, and other members of the heath family (Ericaceae).
Behavior and Ecology: The Pink-edged Sulphur is a slow flyer for a Colias species. They frequent flowers in their habitat occasionally stopping to perch.
Population trend and potential threats: They are generally secure in most populations although some at the periphery of the range may be more at risk.
Management practices: Understanding the habitat needs of the Pink-edged Sulphur in Virginia and West Virginia is necessary to protecting these peripheral populations.
References: Allen, T. J. 1997. The Butterflies of West Virginia and their Caterpillars. University of Pittsburg Press. 388pp.
Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 250. Princeton University Press.
Opler, P. A. 1992. A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guides
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM