New Jersey Butterflies

Cloudless Sulphur

Phoebis sennae

Identification: Medium—2.5" (much larger than Clouded Sulphur). Rarely seen basking with open wings. Below: Male FW and HW bright yellow with small dark and white spots. Female is darker yellow with many larger, purplish spots.

NJ Status and Distribution: Nonresident. Primarily a southern species that occurs as a regular stray in NJ, some years in large numbers. Reported from throughout the state but most frequently seen from Monmouth and Burlington counties south.

NJ Range Map-Cloudless Sulphur

Habitat: Open, sunny, areas. Will visit gardens with flowers such as Butterfly Bush, Purple Coneflower, asters, goldenrods, and milkweeds.

Flight Period: Generally July into November but most seen in August and September. Rarely seen before June and into December. Extreme dates: North Jersey 5/15—11/4; South Jersey 5/13—12/14.

Larval Food Plants: Wild Sennas (Cassia) and Partridge Peas (Chamaecrista), a few of which grow in NJ.

Overwintering Stage: Not known to overwinter in NJ.

Best Locations: Higbee Beach WMA, Cattus Island CP, Sandy Hook GNRA, Cape May Point SP.

Comments: During strong irruption years it is not unusual to see hundreds in just a few hours while driving along roads such as the lower section of the Garden State Parkway, and Central Avenue through Island Beach SP.



Cloudless Sulphur

Male, Cape May, Cape May Co., NJ, 9/12/06.


Cloudless Sulphur

Female, Cape May, Cape May Co., NJ, 9/11/06, on Mistflower.