Pima invaded by butterflies

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Yellow butterflies have descended upon Pima. This is one of thousands located in a field along 200 North.

By Jon Johnson


PIMA – Swarms of yellow butterflies have taken up camp in the fields along 200 North (Tripp Canyon) in Pima, causing quite a sight for travelers passing through.

The winged wonders appear to be the Southern Dogface (Colias cesonia), which is a North American butterfly in the family Pieridae, subfamily Coliadinae. The butterflies’ habits are open areas with host plants usually being herbaceous.

The butterflies lay their eggs on the host plants and they have multiple flights each year throughout the southern part of their range year-round.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Swarms of butterflies take residence in a Pima field.

A number of Pima residents have spotted the butterflies in their flowers or plants, but the swarm along 200 North is something to behold. Thousands of butterflies currently occupy the area, causing some vehicles’ windshields to pick up extra passengers as they drive through.

According to Richard A. Bailowitz and Mark P. Sitter of the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, the butterflies generally produce one or more generations per year.

Butterflies are also important pollinators and are good indicators of the ecological quality of a habitat as well as an important component of the food chain, particularly as larvae, according to Bailowitz and Sitter.

The adult butterflies in one of the fields along 200 North seem to have attracted another group of predators as a large number of birds seem to be feeding on them.