Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pink-spot Sulphur Data Needed

We are still looking for Pink-spot Sulphurs in Florida.  Andy Warren with the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville first identified Pink-spot Sulphurs as a resident butterfly in south Florida last year.  Subsequently, NABA members such as Hank Poor, Elane Nuehring, and many others, have been documenting Pink distribution and biology.   Hank recently discovered several areas in Key Largo for Pink-spot Sulphurs. 

Pink-spot Sulphurs are closely associated with the larval host plant, Lysiloma sabicu, an exotic tree used in urban landscaping in southern Florida.  Lysiloma sabicu is similar to the native False Tamarind Lysiloma latisiliquum, but the leaflets are fewer and larger and it has shredding bark on the trunk. 

Lysiloma sabicu leaves and fruit, Miami.
Lysiloma sabicu has shredding bark, Miami.

In southeastern Florida, the butterfly has been found at nearly every place the tree occurs.  Adult Pink-spot Sulphurs are very similar to the common Cloudless Sulphur, but are usually slightly smaller, shiny on the undersides, and there are tiny black dots at the ends of the veins along the margins of the hindwings.  In the females, the Pink-spot has a fairly straight line on the underside of the forewing between the spot in the cell and the outer margin.  This line is very jagged in the Cloudless Sulphur.

Please contact me if you have seen any Pink-spot Sulphurs or Lysiloma sabicu trees on the west coast of Florida.  The butterfly and tree are likely to occur in Naples and Fort Myers, northward to Tampa along the Gulf coast.

Female Pink-spot Sulphr from Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

Female Cloudless Sulphur from Minno yard, Gainesville, Florida.

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