Phoebis philea

Geographic Range

The Orange-barred Giant Sulphur is a resident of the New World Tropics. It is specifically found in lowland tropical America and south on into Brazil. However, it can be an irregular vagrant in southern Texas, Colorado, Minnesota,Wisconsin, and Connecticut.


Orange-barred Giant Sulphurs can be found in forest edges, city gardens, and roadsides where flowers grow. They prefer open areas.

Physical Description

The Orange-barred Giant Sulfur has a wingspread of 2.75 to 3.25 inches. It has distinguishing yellow and orange markings. The male forewing has a red-orange bar and the hindwing has an orange-red outer margin. Females are larger than the males and are dimorphic. One is yellow with a orange hue and the other is white. Both forms of the female possess a solid black cell spot and black smudges. The outer half of the hindwing on the yellow butterfly is red with an orange hue.


The larva is a yellow green with lateral stripes and blackish-red dots that taper at the end. It makes a tent to hide in during the day by pulling the leaf of one of its foodplants together.


The Orange-barred Giant Sulphur may migrate extensively . It is in flight for the majority of the year and is vagrant during mid- to late summer.

Food Habits

The Orange-barred Giant Sulphur feeds on sennas. The larval foodplants are Partridge Pea, sennas, and clover.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

No documented examples.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

No documented examples.

Conservation Status

Although the species has not received special attention, it is extremely rare.

Other Comments

Adult males gather on moist sand along rivers and streams.


Marie S. Harris (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


Opler, Paul A. A Field Guide To Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.

Shull, Ernest M. The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science, 1987.