California Dogface (Colias [Zerene] eurydice)

Note: The California State Butterfly is available only for educational kits in California. We strongly encourage the planting of its host plant, False Indigo: Amorpha californica or A. fruticosa, in public and private butterfly gardens.
California Dogface Butterfly
Wing span: 2 - 2 1/2 inches (5.1 - 6.3 cm).

Identification: Black outer half of male forewing encloses yellow-orange "dog's head" tinged with light purple iridescence. Black "eye" very near or touching the border. Hindwing yellow-orange, sometimes with black border. Female all yellow with a black upper forewing cell spot; sometimes with scattered black scaling on outer half.

Life history: Short-lived, fragile butterfly.

Flight: Two flights from April-May and July-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Usually false indigo (Amorpha californica) in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Foothills, chaparral, oak or coniferous woodlands.

Range: North-central California south to Baja California, west of the central mountains and deserts.

Conservation: None usually required.

Management needs: Not reported.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).

Photographs and text copyright by and adapted from US Geological Survey's Butterflies of North America.