Anthocharis s. sara

Sara Orangetip

A true harbinger of the beginning of the butterfly season in many areas, the Sara Orangetip can be common where the host mustards are present. Sara usually has two broods: the first is smaller, with males the first to emerge (often in February). The larger-sized second brood - with lighter markings on the underside - typically flies in May-June as conditions allow. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, this was a butterfly I had to get out into the field to see and photograph, and I remember well the excitement I felt seeing them the first time in abundance early one year at Malibu Creek State Park, camera in hand.

What would become Anthocharis sara was collected by Pierre Lorquin in California during the gold rush and sent to the Musée de Paris in 1851. Boisduval then named it and presented a paper on this and other new butterflies at a 1852 meeting of entomologists. However, Pierre Lucas' redescription happened to beat Boisduval's paper to print, so Lucas is considered the author. Emmel, Emmel and Mattoon fixed as the Type Locality the Queen Lily Campground near Belden, North Fork of the Feather River, in Plumas County, CA. in the 1998 Systematics book (see "The Types of California Butterflies Names by Pierre Hippolyte Lucas: Designation of Lectotypes and Fixation of Type Localities," pp.77ff.).

Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
A typically small male Sara Orangetip was among those recently emerged at Cactus Spring Trail on February 27, 2019.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
Female Sara Orangetip on the West Fork Trail, San Gabriels. May 6, 2006.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
A spring-brood female Anthocharis sara sara, also along the West Fork Trail, March 16, 2006.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara

This female Sara Orangetip is from the second brood, which emerges in May and June. These are a bit larger and the underside marbling is lighter than the spring brood (compare to the early female above). Holy Jim Canyon, Santa Ana Mtns. in Orange County, May 17, 2009.

Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
Male sara, Malibu Creek, February 25, 2006.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
Ventral of a Sara Orangetip on Fiddleneck. Malibu Creek, February 25, 2006.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
A nice yellow form female Sara Orangetip on the Big Laguna Trial, Laguna Mountains, April 17, 2008.
Sara Orangetip - Anthocharis sara sara
Same yellow Sara Orangetip as above. Note that she is ovipositing.
Sara Orangetip caterpillar - Anthocharis sara sara larva
I found this Anthocharis sara sara larva on Cactus Spring Trail on Descurainia pinnata ssp. glabra. March 26th, 2016.

©Dennis Walker