Sara Orangetip

Anthocharis sara

Order: 

Lepidoptera

Family: 

Pieridae

The Anthocharis sara is a small butterfly with white colored dorsal wings containing orange spots within the apical regions of the dorsal forewing.  The bright orange spots on the wings are a major distinguishing factor helping with identification of the species from others.  Late spring Pacific Orangetips are larger with less black more yellow-green marbling.   In addition, the forewing length ranges from 17-24mm.  While males patrol the valleys for females, eggs are laid on the upper areas of host plants.  After hatching, the young caterpillars feed on flower buds while the older caterpillars feed on flowers and fruits.  Habitats include open oak woods, orchards, fields, and meadows.  In respect to the geographic distribution, the Anthocharis sara can be found within locations ranging from the Alaskan coast to Baja California mainly to the west of the Pacific divide (1).  There are two major flying periods.  The first flying period takes place from late January into April while the second flying period occurs from late April to early June (2).

(1) “Pacific Orangetip Anthocharis sara Lucas, 1852.” Butterflies and Moths of North America, Metalmark Web and Data, https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Anthocharis-sara.

(2) “Sara Orangetip.” Natural History of Orange County, http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/lepidopt/pieridae/saram.htm.

2 (Photograph) Peter J. Bryant, University of California, Irvine

Habitat:

  • Meadows and fields