Stella Orangetip (Anthocharis stella) (W.H. Edwards, 1879)

Diagnosis: The second species of orangetip in Canada is best identified by the pale mossy-green marbled pattern on the underside of the hindwing. Males have a white ground colour with a slight tinge of yellow, especially on the hindwing; females are bright yellow. The black inner margin of the orange tip is more diffuse in males so that the black discal spot is more distinctive, and there is no dark inner border to the orange tip in females. Wingspan: 29 to 41 mm.

Range: The Stella Orangetip is found in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain regions from California and Wyoming northward to central Alberta and British Columbia. Unlike the Pacific Orangetip, it does not occur on the coast, but is found only as far west as Pemberton and Whistler Mountain.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Pacific Orangetip (A. sara). [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is similar to that of the Pacific Orangetip and also feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants in the mustard family.

Abundance: This species is local but can be fairly common.

Flight Season: The Stella Orangetip flies from late April to mid-June in most of its Canadian range but can be found until mid-July at higher elevations.

Habits: The Stella Orangetip occurs mainly in dry, open habitats, such as sagebrush-covered hillsides, open pine forests, and canyons, but also occurs in dry subalpine meadows.

Remarks: The Stella Orangetip was, until recently, treated as a subspecies of the Pacific Orangetip (A. sara). The two "subspecies" were found to occur together in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California without hybridizing, and molecular evidence strongly supported their treatment as separate species (Geiger and Shapiro, 1986).

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.