Anthocharis midea - (Hübner, [1809])
Falcate Orangetip
Synonym(s): Paramidea midea
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Anthocharis midea (Hübner, 1809) (TSN 777759)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.109441
Element Code: IILEPA6050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Pieridae Anthocharis
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 486 pages.
Concept Reference Code: B98OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Anthocharis midea
Taxonomic Comments: Species is also classified as Falcapica midea. Anthocharis is sometimes (incorrectly) spelled Anthocaris. Subspecies midea (coastal plain of Carolinas and Georgia) is very distinctive and apparently disjunct. Subspecies annickae (including texanae Gatrelle, 1998) occupies almost the entire range.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Jun2000
Global Status Last Changed: 05Jun2000
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Subspecies ANNICKAE is widespread and can adapt to some weedy situations. While there is a serious threat in some parts of the range the species seems quite secure in some others.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5 (28Mar2001)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SU), Arkansas (S4), Connecticut (S2), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (SNR), Florida (SH), Georgia (S4), Illinois (S4?), Indiana (S4?), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S4?), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (SH), Mississippi (S4), Missouri (S5), Nebraska (SH), New Jersey (S4), New York (S3S4), North Carolina (S4S5), Ohio (S4?), Oklahoma (S4), Pennsylvania (S2S3), South Carolina (S5), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4S5), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Connecticut (apparently formerly Massachusetts) to coastal Georgia, and west to Missouri and Texas. Widespread but local.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species is threatened in significant areas by the spread of garlic mustard which is out competing certain native foodplants and upon which females oviposit. The plant is lethal to the larvae. While this threat will probably eliminate the species in some areas, perhaps widely on the piedmont, where it is using relatively rich forest habitats, A. M. ANNICKAE should still be secure in areas where it now utilizes mainly xeric or unforested habitats.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Connecticut (apparently formerly Massachusetts) to coastal Georgia, and west to Missouri and Texas. Widespread but local.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Middlesex (09007)*, New Haven (09009)*
FL Liberty (12077)*, Wakulla (12129)*
PA Chester (42029), Fulton (42057), Juniata (42067), Lancaster (42071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*
02 Lower Juniata (02050304)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+, Chester-Sassafras (02060002)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+
03 Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: Butterfly, Pieridae.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Open areas in deciduous forests or pine barrens, especially in moist riaprian areas or on dry open ridge tops, glades and various kinds of barrens (such as serpentine and shale). Larval hosts are in family Brassicaceae. Becoming increasingly rare in richer forests due to invasive exotics, especially garlic mustard, but populations in xeric habitats are generally unaffected. Adults and larvae are not found more than a few meters from trees but ecotones between fields and woods are common habitats at least in coastal plain. Since pupation is up in small trees or shrubs this species can utilize plowed or burned fields successfully as long as such disturbances are not during the larval period. Grassland/herbaceous and odl field checkoffs are not indicated because only their edges are normally used.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Food Comments: Caterpillar Hosts: Plants of the mustard (Brassicaceae) family including rockcress (Arabis) and wintercress (Barbarea) species. Adult Food: Flower nectar including flowers of mustards, violets, and others (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Pieridae, General

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or recently has occurred, where there is potential for continued occurrence or regular recurrence. Minimally a place with a verified collection or photograph or in exceptional cases a sight record from an expert in association with larval foodplants in suitable habitat. Verification standards may vary by species and location, for example there is only one species of Anthocaris in the entire east so sight records would be more reasonable to accept there than in some western regions.
Mapping Guidance: Usually, but not always habitat boundaries are discernable based on vegetation type or structure, but in some cases they will be defined more by distribution of the larval foodplant. Include adjacent nectaring areas as habitat. Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences.
Separation Barriers: Very little information. At least some species such as patrolling male COLIAS routinely recognize and stay within habitat boundaries, but during other circumstances they readily leave them and at least some open country species very readily fly over forests and through or over cities, for example COLIAS PHILODICE, C. EURYTHEME, PIERIS RAPAE, P. PROTODICE.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 4 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: When dealing with multiple occurrences within the same large scale natural community such as COLIAS INTERIOR in openings in a large barrens complex, consider the occurrence a metapopulation and apply the suitable habitat distance. Also both distances may be lowered in very cold environments where sustained flight is almost always impossible except in highly sheltered warm microclimates. However do this very conservatively for suitable habitat distance since.
Separation Justification: These are strong flying dispersive to migratory species that easily travel several km per hour at least during warm sunny weather. Recall a meter per second, about right for the slowest species is 3.6 km per hour. While the species no doubt vary in their dispersive or colonial tendencies these figures seem reasonable in the absence of actual data. Both figures are arbitrary.

For woodland or forest species use the ten kilometer distance when assessing multiple "colonies" on wooded ridges, or in large canyons etc. As with most Lepidoptera all contiguous suitable habitat is likely to be occupied to some degree so there is little chance two collections only ten kilometers apart across largely suitable habitat would really be separate occurrences.

For species that routinely move along and into forest patches or through a dominant landscape feature that often has foodplants use the suitable habitat distance for marginal habitats. Likewise for feature adults like to follow such as forest edges for Anthocharis midea or edges, railroads and sand roads for some Eurema.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: In practice most occurrences will occupy a few hundred hectares or less and in such cases the inferred extent is simply all available habitat. Exceptions are most likely to occur among woodland species such as ANTHOCARIS for which foodplants are scattered more sparsely or patchily over large areas forcing at least females to move around a lot to find them. Use the 1 kilometer figure only with extensive habitat or proximate patches along a feature such as a ridgeline. As with most butterflies populations will usually occupy most of the potential habitat at least during good weather or favorable years. Beware though that in cold conditions at least Colias and presumably others concentrate in low, sheltered, sunny spots and appear more sedentary than they really are. Even the highly dispersive and somewhat migratory COLIAS EURYTHEME becomes intensely localized and sedentary in southern New Jersey from about mid November through February when sun angle is too low for the butterflies to reach optimum flight temperature even on warm days. Arctic and alpine species are also most active and dispersive on warm sunny days. It is unlikely that 1 kilometer will prove realistic except in arctic and alpine situations, for now there are insufficient observations to justify a larger figure.
Date: 14Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Boreal forest or woodland PIERIS of the NAPI complex are included for now but may need different SPECS. The two which are reasonably well known are P. OLERACEA for which these SPECS should be suitable and P. VIRGINIENSIS which needs and has its own SPECS.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 05Jun2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D. F.; Opler, P.A.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 09May2001
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): SCHWEITZER, D.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Allen, T.J. 1997. The butterflies of West Virginia and their caterpillars. Pittsburgh, PA. University of Pittsburgh Press.

  • Belth, Jeffrey E. 2013. Butterflies of Indiana A Field Guide. Indiana University Press.Bloomington, IN.


  • Gatrelle, Ronald R., 1998. An addendum to Anthocharis midea Dos Passoss and Klots 1969. (Description of a new subspecies from Texas.) The Taxonomic Report of the International Lepidopterists Survey. Vol. 1, number 1: 5pp.

  • Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2017. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Available online: (Version December 2018).

  • Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 486 pages.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Pohl, G.R., B. Patterson and J.P.  Pelham. 2016. Annotated taxonomic checklist of the Lepidoptera of North America, North of Mexico. Working paper published online by the authors at (May 2016). 766 pp. Online:

  • Shuey, John. 1995. Indiana S-Ranks for Butterflies. Memorandum to Cloyce Hedge. 10 pp.

  • Shull, Ernest M. 1987. The Butterflies of Indiana. Publ. by Indiana Acad. Science, distributed by Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis, 262 pp.

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