Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Dog-Face Butterfly 狗脸蝴蝶 (Family Pieridae, the Whites and Sulphurs)

Throughout the southern states, but sometimes as far north as Illinois, out wet through New Mexico and Arizona and on to California, the Dog-face butterflies are lovers of the golden sunlight. You will gasp with delight when you see the male of the Californian Dog-face, because the fore-wings of this fancy gentleman shine with a splendid purple irridescence that scintillates in the light like a pair of crown jewels. The plane yellow female looks like a drab mate indeed beside her handsome husband, because she lacks completely the strange light area of the forewing, shaped like the head of a dog. But, if you look closely, you will know right away she too belongs to the Dog-face butterflies because of the distinctive sharp point to the forewing.

The Southern Dog-Face, both male and female, have the distinctive dog-face design on the fore-wings, but neither have the shining glory of their Californian cousin. The male has what is called a “sex patch,” an orange area on the fore part of the hind wing.

You may fall on your face trying to catch a dog-face butterfly because these creatures are the greyhounds of the Pierids (the yellows and whites), suddenly dodging away when you disturb them with a burst of speed that leaves you gasping far behind. If you are smart, you will forget all ideas about chasing it and lay in wait by its favorite food plants, such as the False Indigo and the Clover. Stand still by a flower and when it comes you can sweep it into your net. On these same plants you may look and find the peculiar green caterpillars, covered with numerous small black tubes, each bearing hairs.


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