We could use some help with this one, everybody!
Jesse Amesbury’s photo is our first report of sulphurs of any kind on the log this year, and so it seems a good time to get a discussion going on what is often a very tough distinction in South Jersey: orange sulphur vs. clouded sulphur.
Jesse thought “clouded sulphur” at first, but then had second thoughts and asked for some help, “I would love to learn how to better tell them apart and why the one I saw is what it is.”
What would you call the butterfly above? Clouded? Orange? Sulphur, sp? And why?
No orange is obvious here, but the standard advice, “If you see any orange at all, call it an orange sulphur,” leads to at least a couple of problems. First, fide Jeff Glassberg, that rule is only an “operational definition” (because the two species vary so much and also hybridize). Second, the rule is not much help when you do not see the orange. Not all orange sulphurs show orange — at least in the field.
Comments from anyone would help all of us. So click on “Leave a comment” below and let us hear from you. Even if you do not have a certain call, you could tell us what you focus on as you try to make the distinction. What in the photo catches your eye? (Or: what field marks do you look for when confronted with a sulphur that seems to lack orange?)
Warning: unlike Photo Forum 1 from a couple of weeks ago, this puzzle may have no certainly-correct answer.