Southern Dogface

Colias cesonia

The Southern Dogface is considered a migrant in Wisconsin. It is mainly a southern species but should be looked for in the southern counties of the state in most years, as well as along the major rivers or along Lake Michigan, both of which seem to be favorite routes north for migrating or stray species. Ebner (1970) notes that this species may at times form colonies and reproduce in the state.

Weekly sightings for Southern Dogface

Identifying characteristics

Above, this butterfly, which is slightly larger than the Clouded Sulphur, is yellow with a very distinctive black border, and has a pointed front wing. The yellow on the forewing forms what looks like a dog’s head, hence its common name. Below, the pointed shape of the front wing is evident. Late season individuals are often tinged with pink.

Similar species

On the wing, this species could be mistaken for the Clouded Sulphur, but the shape of the wing, somewhat larger size, and the distinctive border distinguishes this species easily when it alights.

Habitat

Old fields, prairie, roadsides, and edges of woodlands, especially where its host plants false indigo (Amorpha fruiticosa_), leadplant (_Amorpha canescens), or other lugumes grow.

Flight

Reportedly may have two or more generations in Illinois; if this migrant species is able to enter the state early in the year, they may reproduce and have several broods, at least in the southern part of the state.

Abundance

This species is not likely to be seen in large numbers in Wisconsin, and is usually seen singly. Although it is uncommon, it was reported in Wisconsin in half of the years during the period 2000-2009.

Late Southern Dogface Sightings

Date County Reported by
Sep 5, 2008 Portage Ann & Scott Swengel
Sep 9, 2011 Dane Karl and Dorothy Legler
Sep 13, 2015 Walworth Aaron Carlson
Sep 28, 2011 Dane Karl and Dorothy Legler
Oct 18, 2005 Dane Kyle E. Johnson

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Southern Dogface
Map key
Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

Mated pair, one summer form and one winter form

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

Photo by david reese

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

Photo by david reese

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

Female, winter form, laying an egg on prairie clover

Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, Wilson Co., TN. April 2, 2011

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

Bentsen Palm Village wall, Mission, TX. October 29, 2010.

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

National Butterfly Park, Mission, TX. October 28, 2010.

Southern DogfaceClick to enlarge

National Butterfly Park, Mission, TX. October 28, 2010.