1 7/8-2 1/2" (48-64 mm). Both sexes yellow above and below, with FW curved and pointed; black margin above scalloped in poodle-head design; black FW cell spot suggests dog's eye. Autumn-winter individuals may have much black marking above and intense rosy scaling beneath, especially on HW and FW tips. Below, varies greatly, mostly yellow with reddish-pink mottling. Female sometimes white.
California Dogface male has purple flush on FW above and more orange all over; both sexes less heavily marked with black. Mexican Yellow much smaller, paler, with FW less pointed, HW more pointed.
Caterpillar green, black-stippled; may be plain, striped lengthwise, or crossbanded with yellow and black. Host plants
include false indigo (Amorpha californica), lead plant (A. fruticosa), and clovers (Trifolium). Chrysalis and/or adult may overwinter.
Mid- to late summer in North; most of year in South.
Open woodlands; dry, sandy oak scrub; deserts in S. California, straying over many kinds of habitat.
S. California to Florida, irregularly north through Midwest to Canada and Northeast, south to Argentina.
Although individuals and seasonal broods exhibit much variation, the Southern Dogface Butterfly is unique - only the California Dogface resembles it. The Dogface is not uncommon throughout much of the South, and to be expected here and there in northern states; it is well worth singling out from other sulphurs for its great beauty. The magenta-flushed winter form (called "rosa") is especially striking.