Violets, buttercups, fillaree, flat pods – the earliest spring wildflowers are beginning to bloom. The earliest flying butterflies have also begun to appear.
One of the first butterflies to appear as spring approaches is the sara orangetip (Anthocaris sara). This butterfly is constantly on the move as it searches for nectar amid the wet forests, subalpine meadows and sagebrush rangelands of Western North America.
Sara orangetip is a white butterfly with a black-bordered orange tip on the forewing. The white hindwings have variable amounts of black-brown markings on the upper margin and greenish marbling on the undersides. The female has a yellow stripe on the orange tip.
The caterpillars of sara orangetip feed on members of the mustard family, especially tumble mustards.
These sara orangetips were photographed near Baum Lake (Shasta County CA).