Little Sulphur

(Colias philodice)



The Little Sulphur Butterfly is yellow with variable white spots over its wings. The uperside of the male is yellow with an orange overlay, yellow veins, wide black border, and dark black cell spot. The female is yellow or white with irregular black border surrounding light spots. The underside of the hindwing spot is silver with 2 concentric dark rings, and a spot above it. The typical butterfly wingspan is 1 3/8 to 2 3/4 inches (3.5 - 7 cm).

The caterpillar is a smooth dark green with a single white and red line down its length.



The Litte Yellow Sulphure Butterfly prefers open spaces, especially clover and alfalfa fields, mowed fields, vacant lots, meadows, road edges.



The caterpillars eat plants of the pea family while the butterfly feeds on nectar from a very wide array of plants including dandelion, milkweeds, goldenrods, and asters.


Life Cycle

Males patrol for receptive females, who lay eggs singly on top of host plant leaves. Most feeding takes place at night. Young caterpillars chew holes in the tops of leaves, then later feed from the leaf tip. Older caterpillars eat half of the leaf before moving to the other half. Chrysalids overwinter.


Regular migrant to Bermuda. To attract the Yellow Sulphur to the garden plant milkweed, goldenrod and Asters. Also allow clover to spring up in grassed areas and dandelions in non-mown areas.