Help with Colias IDs
JerryMcW at aol.com
JerryMcW at aol.com
Thu Aug 31 20:35:24 EDT 2000
I was wondering if someone could help me with some Colias identifications. I
spent five weeks in Montana and Washington this summer photographing birds
and butterflies. This was my first trip to the west to search for
butterflies, so I am not familiar with many of the tougher groups. I was
fairly successful at finding many of my target species, thanks to all who
responded to my early requests as to where to find them, but I am in a bit of
a dilema with some of the butterflies I photographed. I was wondering if
anyone familiar with particular sites could help me determine what I have.
Later I may need some help identifying some Chlosyne and Speyeria.
Butterfly 1. On July 14 I photographed a yellow Colias that I think is
either C. gigantea or C. occidentalis on Clay Butte, Park Co., Wyoming. I
photographed this butterfly near the lookout tower on the tundra. I have
researched at least five different references, including Scott's Butterflies
of North America and Opler's Western Butterflies, but I am still confused.
It seems the Colias group still needs much work.
Since I did not collect I am hoping those who have collected at this site can
help me. I have excellent ventral photos of a male that has a bright yellow
ground color moderately dusted on both hindwing and forewing with black
scales. The wings are narrowly bordered with pink. The hindwing cell spot
is relatively large and white distinctly rimmed with brown not pink. There
is also a brownish smudge, not quite developed as a satellite spot, directly
above the hindwing cell spot. The discal cell spot is elongated and
indistinct showing only thin black outline. The upperside black borders can
be seen on both hindwing and forewing through the wings. The black borders
are of relatively moderate width. In flight, except for the black borders,
the upperside appeared entirely yellow.
Butterfly 2. Along the Inner North Fork Road at Glacier National Park,
Montana on July 23 I photographed several Colias almost identical to the
above butterfly, but the habitat was quite different. They were along the
dirt road visiting flowers in open areas in pines and in meadows. The
upperside of the females were pale to medium yellow with an incomplete black
border on the forewing thickest in the apex. The upperside of the hindwing
was unmarked except for a pale yellowish orange dical spot. The underside
ground color on the hindwing was yellow with a hint of green and the forewing
was yellow. Both wings had some light black dusting with a single
silvery-white, brown rimmed, cell spot and were narrowly edged with pink.
The forewing discal spot was rather well developed, prominently black-rimmed
with a pale yellow center. I also photographed a male that was same as above
except that it had complete black borders on upperside of forewings and
hindwings. Identification seems to fit C. occidentalis. Scott says C.
occidentalis is not found east of Washington.
Butterfly 3. In a large bog along Rt. 296 near Swamp Lake in Park Co.,
Wyoming I photographed a couple of female Colias ovipositing. I did not
identify the plant that they were laying eggs on, but they flew down low in
the grass and crawled down near the bases of the grass making it difficult to
get photos. I managed to get a photo of one in flight showing the upperside.
It was nearly all creamy-white except for a faint band of yellow along the
inner margin of the forewing. There was a very small dark discal spot on the
forewing. The upper hindwing discal spot was pale yellow-orange. The
underside of the hindwing was creamy white with a single reddish-brown rimmed
white cell spot. The underside of the forewing was white except at the apex
which was pale yellow. The forewing discal cell was well marked looking
Was this C. gigantea.
Butterfly 4. I photographed a male C. meadii on Clay Butte, Wyoming that had
a well defined pink rimmed satellite cell spot on the under hindwing like C.
johanseni. Do C. meadii occasionally show a satellite spot?
Can someone help me these? Thanks
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