Falcate Orangetip Butterflies

Falcate orange tip butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Finding Anthocharis Midea butterflies is a considerable challenge. They fly in Southwestern Pennsylvania from mid-April through mid-May and don’t stick around beyond that. No persuasive argument that your workload prevents you from getting out with a camera; or that you just completed filing your U.S. tax returns; or that your family has patiently awaited the end of your frenetic 19-hour a day schedule. None of these arguments can keep Falcate Orangetips from doing their predictable disappearing act every May. This year I was determined to photograph them and did. Yay!

These beauties fly with delicate gossimer wings, and can be found for no more than a hour our so in the morning. This particular morning was a productive one. I found Falcate Orangetips, the sun was full and these two members of the the Subfamily Pierinae (Whites) were standing side by side on a flowerhead. He is on your left, showing sweet orange forewing tips and she is fashionably displaying her finely marbled ventral wing surface.

Males spend most of their time courting females. Females are intent on sipping nectar, and they appear to only reluctantly note the energetic interest of the males.

The Falcate Orangetip caterpillars feed on members of the mustard family. They live through the winter months as pupa, and I’ve never seen one. Have you?