Falcate Orangetip

Photo by Charles Schurch Lewallen

If you’ve been waiting all winter to see a Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea,) you’d best be out looking for one soon. In this part of Missouri, they only fly during April and you’re rapidly running out of time. Ok, Ok – as far as I know, no butterfly is capable of reading a calendar, so they may show up in late March or early May, but as a general rule, it’s April or bust.

A small white butterfly with marbling under the hindwing and dark spots on the forewing, only the males have the namesake orange tips on the forewing and tend to be a bit smaller than females. Neither seem to sit still for any length of time and are, for me at least, very difficult to photograph. After many hours scattered over several years chasing them with a camera, I have yet to capture a decent photo. That’s why I had to use someone else’s photo.

The female lays only one egg per plant, which will be a member of the mustard family. The caterpillar pupates by late spring and spends the winter (and sometimes two winters) as a chrysalis. Then April rolls around again and ….

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