Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae, female
Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies are silver-dollar sized yellow fast flying butterflies that seem to like my tree-tops better than my flowers, at least when I'm nearby with my camera. I knew they were in my yard, but the only way I was able to get decent photos of them was to raise them from caterpillars.

This page compares the male and female Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies that I raised. These are tricky little bugs; their spots and splotches vary a lot, and from underneath (with their wings closed), they closely resemble Orange-barred Sulphur Butterflies.

I think this first Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly is a girl because she has a large brown circle in the middle of the top side of her upper wings, and a brown dotted fringe around those wings. No, she wasn't thrilled about opening her wings to let us see, but she flew away happily after I took the pictures.

This Cloudless Sulphur butterfly caterpillar is in 'J' form, suspended from the top of the bug box becoming a chrysalis. It turned into the butterfly above.
 
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Chrysalis, Phoebis sennae
...and here's what she looks like from the top after she became a butterfly. See the brown fringe and the dots? That's how we know she's a girl butterfly.
This next butterfly is also a female Cloudless Sulphur. The two photos of her chrysalis were taken just before she emerged. You can see her wing pattern through the chrysalis (a clue that the butterfly will emerge soon.) In the following photo, she's just emerged:
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Larvae, Phoebis sennae
 
She has two silver spots on her lower wings though, and the other female Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly only had one spot. What's up with that? (my email's at the bottom of the page; feel free to send answers.)
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae
 
I think this Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly (above and left) is a male because the upper side of his wings is nearly clear, and he has brown tiny dots at the edge of his upper wing, but not the fringe that the female butterfly has. He has two silver spots on the underside of his lower wings, and was much happier to pose with his wings extended for this photo of the upper side of his wings. Here are his caterpillar and chrysalis:
Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies use Cassia as their host plant. The caterpillars that became these butterflies came from both my Cassia Alata and my Christmas Cassia plants.
 
Here are more photos of the upper surface of her wings, although you can see the pattern in her chrysalis clearly enough to tell she's a girl:
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Chrysalis, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Chrysalis, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae
I ran out of space, so the rest of the Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Life Cycle, including egg and caterpillar photos, is on Cloudless Sulphur Butterflies Page 2.

You may have noticed that I kept going on about the silver spots. I was hoping that by raising these butterflies, photographing them, and comparing their pictures, I'd be able to get a good look at them side by side, and find a quick and simple way to tell the difference between the Cloudless and the Orange Barred Sulphur butterflies. Generally speaking, the Orange-barred are larger, but when one flits past so very fast, lands for a heartbeat in front of you, and vanishes up and over the treetop, that isn't always a helpful distinction. It's easier to tell them apart when they are caterpillars.

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae, male
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly, Phoebis sennae, male
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Caterpillar in J form, Phoebis sennae
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly Chrysalis, Phoebis sennae
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