Winter Form of the Female
Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
This is a recently emerged female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly. She is very colorful in her winter form.

I'm holding the stick her chrysalis is attached to up against the bright sky to get the sun to shine through her wings so you can see the colors on the upper surface through them.

The technique is similar to how kids hold their hand over a bright flashlight and try to see if they can see their bones, usually right about the same time they discover that if you dim the lights in a room, you can get a cat to leap up the walls and spin in circles on the floor chasing the illuminated spot as you shine the light around. It's loads of fun!

In the photo below, the light is behind the camera, so you just see the bottom surface of the wing.

Winter Form of the Female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
Sulphur butterflies always land with their wings closed. That's the official word anyway. This butterfly broke that rule. Twice.

The first time (photo below) she had help; I bugged her until she gave up resisting and opened her wings. I was delightedly stunned that they stayed open for ten very fast photos.

The second time she opened them without any coaxing from me! Scroll on down to see.

Winter Form of the Female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
I guess she got tired of my bothering her, and of the camera, because she flew away. I ran after her.

The wind was too much for her to handle, and she landed on my car. I saw her fight to hold her position on the smooth surface against the stiff breeze, but her wings were sails in the wind pulling her forward. All by herself, she opened her wings. I got four fast photos before she closed them again.

So, is it true that a sulphur never opens its wings when it lands? Absolutely not. Here is the photo to prove it. I have to add that this is the only time I've seen one do it without me trying to stick my finger between its wings to coax them open, so I'll agree that doesn't happen very often.

Winter Form of the Female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
Here she is with her wings closed just after the photo above.

I wish there weren't water restrictions down here! My car might have been cleaner, and the reflection in the photo would have been a lot nicer.

After this photo, I got her back on my finger (that's easy, just gently stick your finger under their front legs, and they crawl right on up), and took her back to the porch where she had more shelter from the wind. I set her on a Spanish Needles flower I happened to have in a pot, but she wasn't interested in nectaring.

She flew away about 15 minutes later.

Winter Form of the Female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
Winter Form of the Female Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly
Orange-Barred Sulphur

Emerging from Chrysalis

"Birds and the Bees"

Shampoo (How not to raise a butterfly)


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