Predominantly Yellow Butterflies

Where required, photos and information have been reproduced with the kind permission of Butterfly Conservation.

In each section, the MALE is shown as the top line photograh(s)...photos of the FEMALE are shown on the second line.


Brimstone

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Adult                         
Larva                        

Brimstone  - Photograph by Jim Asher    

Female Brimstone by Jim Asher

A medium-large butterfly of England, Wales and Ireland. Leaf-shaped wings. Always rest with wings closed. Males have yellow-green underwings and yellow upperwings. Females have pale yellow-green wings, looking almost white in flight.

Resident

Range expanding.

The Brimstone has spread in recent years, mainly in northern England. When this butterflies roost among foliage, the angular shape and the strong veining of their wings closely resemble leaves.There is a view that the word 'butterfly' originates from the yellow colour of male Brimstones.

The wings of the female are very pale green, almost white, as shown below.

Conservation status

European/world range

Widespread through Europe as far as Scandinavia, extending to Mongolia and North Africa. The European range is stable.

Foodplants

The larvae feed on leaves of Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), which occurs mainly on calcareous soils, and Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus), which is found on moist acid soils and wetlands.

Habitat

The Brimstone occurs in scrubby grassland, woodland (especially damp carr woodland, hedgerows, and open ground wherever foodplants are available in sunny positions. The butterfly ranges widely and can often be seen flying along roadside verges and tracks with hedgerows, well away from foodplants.


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Clouded Yellow

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Adult                         
Larva                        

Clouded Yellow - Photograph by Martin Warren

Fast-flying migrant found in Britain and less frequently Ireland Underwings greenish yellow with two silver-white spots. Always rests with wings closed. Upperwings are deep orange-yellow with broad dark wing margins.

Regular migrant

The Clouded Yellow is one of the truly migratory European butterflies and a regular visitor to Britain and Ireland. Although some of these golden-yellow butterflies are seen every year, the species is famous for occasional mass immigrations and subsequent breeding, which are fondly and long remembered as ''Clouded Yellow Years''. A small proportion of females are pale yellow (form helice), which can be confused with the rarer Pale and Berger''s Clouded Yellows.

Conservation status

European/world range

North Africa and southern Europe and eastwards through Turkey into the Middle East. It occurs throughout much of Europe as a summer migrant, but very few individuals reach Scandinavia.

Foodplants

A range of leguminous plants is used, including wild and cultivated clovers (Trifolium spp.), Lucerne (Medicago sativa), and less frequently, Common Bird''s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

Habitat

Clouded Yellows may be seen in any habitat, but congregate in flowery places where the larval foodplants grow. As clovers are still commonly cultivated, the Clouded Yellow is one of the few butterfly species that has no difficulty locating breeding habitat in the modern farmed countryside. In southern England there is a preference for unimproved chalk downland.


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