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Little Sulphur (Eurema lisa)

Little Sulphur
Habitat: Most sunny, dry locations including old fields, pastures, fallow agricultural land, roadsides, and along the edges of open scrub and pineland. Garden Abundance: Moderate Wingspan: 1.2 - 1.8in Range: Resident throughout most of the Deep South but annually establishes temporary populations within the eastern half as far north as the Upper Midwest. Larval Host Plants: Partridge pea (Cassia fasciculta) and sensitive pea (Cassia nictitans) Favorite Adult Nectar Sources:Favorite Adult Nectar Sources: shepherd's needles (Bidens alba), mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), purpletop verbena (Verbena bonariensis), and creeping heliotrope (Heliotropium amplexicaule)

The little sulphur is a small yellow butterfly with a low, darting flight. Males and females look different. The upper wing surfaces in males are rich butter yellow with black wing borders. The upper wing surfaces in females may be either pale yellow or white with a similar black border. In both sexes the wings below are rich yellow with numerous markings and a pinkish fringe. Throughout the Southeast, the little sulphur shares its affinity for dry, open habitat with two other small yellow butterflies: the barred sulphur (Eurema daira) and the dainty sulphur (Nathalis iole). Due to their similarity in appearance, the three butterflies have evolved distinctive and elaborate courtship behaviors involving both chemical (pheromone) and physical displays, so that they will not accidentally mate with a member of the wrong species.

Females deposit their small white spindle shaped eggs singly on the leaves of the host plant. The mature caterpillar is green with fine short hairs and lengthwise cream stripes. The caterpillars feed exposed on the leaves of the host plant. Several generations are produced each year. Adults overwinter in a kind of hibernation called reproductive diapause.

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