Colias philodice eriphyle

Colias philodice eriphyle

Photo Life History:  Colias philodice eriphyle

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows; Mountain Hilltops; Arctic AlpineValley Lakes & Rivers; Urban-Suburban

Host Plants: Astragalus beckwithii; Medicago sativa; Hedysarum boreale; Lupinus argenteus

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Astragalus cicer  (Larvae accept many legumes.)

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Feed females regularly

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Portable Cages; Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs: Isolated Host Plants  (When near an alfalfa field, check across the street or nearby where you might find some individual incidental plants.)

How to Hatch Eggs:  Separate eggs individually; Keep egg on original leaf

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field:  Look for Isolated host plantsColias larvae like to rest near the vein on the ventral surface.

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums;

Larva to Pupa:  Last instar larva constructs a cremaster and girdle.

How to Find Pupae in the Field:

Number of Broods per Year: 2-4

Overwintering Stage:  Fifth Instar Larva

Overwintering Strategies: Your Own Backyard; Refrigerator

Post-Hibernation Strategies: 

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Provide larvae with healthy host plant; and expose larvae to 24 hours of light.  This is not as critical with valley floor C. philodice populations.

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every two to four days.  Jack Harry notes that Colias larvae can get sick if not properly taken care of in the lab.

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  Jacque Wolfe and Jack Harry recorded these notes from 2008. 

"For large numbers of immatures of all Colias, it is best to get ova from females.  The larvae of Colias eurytheme, Colias alexandra, and Colias philodice will not diapause if reared with a 24 hours photoperiod.  It is best to use 24 hour photo period for all species of Colias.  Constant light accelerates larval development and, with some individuals, or species prevents diapause.  Any taxon that might not diapause (that we are aware of) will be mentioned in the species account.  Colias are very hard to rear as they are highly prone to disease.  The easiest and best way to rear all Colias is to use potted plants. 

Colias larvae that always diapause will not leave drying plant in search of fresh food, but will just diapause on the plant.  Potted plants stay fresh and the larvae will grow to their maximum diapausing instar.  If only cut plant is available the containers must be designed so they can be placed in the sun for a few hours a day and then put in the lighted lab before sundown.  Ultraviolet rays greatly reduce the chance of disease.  Once a day, carefully remove the sleeve and check the plant for freshness and add water to the water bottle.  When the plant freshness starts to decline transfer each larvae to the leaf of a fresh plant."