Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Sleepy Orange
Abaeis nicippe  CRAMER, 1779
subfamily - COLIADINAE
Abaeis nicippe Patagonia, Arizona, USA Frank Model
The 2 species now placed in Abaeis were originally included within the pan-tropical genus Eurema, and are still retained in that genus by some workers - phylogenetics is not an exact science, much depends on methodologies and opinion, so there is often a lack of consensus among the scientific community about the status of any particular taxon.
Males of both species have orange-yellow uppersides, while the females are paler. They are very similar at first glance to Eurema, but whereas Eurema have narrow or non-existent borders to the upperside hindwings, those of Abaeis are very broad, and deep chocolate brown in colour. The borders on the forewings are also broad, and curve around to reach about halfway along the costa.
Abaeis nicippe is found from the southern states of the USA to Costa Rica, and also occurs on the Cayman islands, Bahamas and Greater Antilles. The other Abaeis species nicippiformis, is endemic to Hispaniola.
This species can be found in open grassy habitats at elevations up to about 600m.
The egg is pale yellow, becoming reddish after a day or two. It is laid singly, either on the underside of a leaf, or on a flower-bud of the foodplant. The larva is pale green above, and dark green below, and has a pale yellow lateral stripe. When young it rests on the underside of a leaf of Senna, Cassia or Trifolium ( Fabaceae ) and nibbles at the cuticle creating characteristic feeding marks in the form of elongated holes. When fully grown the larva rests on the upper surface of the leaf, eating chunks from the leaf tip. The pupa is green with a pale yellow lateral stripe, and protruding wing pads. It is usually formed away from the foodplant on the stem of a nearby bush.
Adult behaviour

Males are usually encountered in two's or three's, imbibing moisture from damp ground. Females are more often seen nectaring at flowers along roadsides, or exploring sunny wood edge habitats in search of egg-laying sites. The flight is fluttery but fairly rapid, and close to the ground.



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