Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Tailed Orange
Pyrisitia proterpia (Fabricius, 1775)

Family: Pieridae
Subfamily: Coliadinae
Identification: Two sexual and two seasonal forms. Upperside orange; tip of forewing squared off. Male with black forewing costa; females with black forewing costa, apex, and outer margin. Winter (dry-season) form with tail-like projections on hindwing; summer (wet-season) form without tails.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.7 cm).
Life History: Males patrol for females on flats and in gullies. The dry-season form is non-reproductive until the onset of the rainy season.
Flight: August-November in Texas; throughout the year in the tropics.
Caterpillar Hosts: In Texas, mesquite (Prosopis) and senna (Cassia) species; Desmodium in the tropics (all in the pea family [Fabaceae]).
Adult Food: Nectar from many species of flowers.
Habitat: Desert and subtropical open and disturbed areas including scrub, pastures, forest edges.
Range: Peru north to Mexico; Greater Antilles; strays to southern Texas, southwest New Mexico, and southeast Arizona; rarely to Nebraska and Kansas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.