Just Pretending

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

When I first photographed this butterfly some years ago now, I couldn’t believe how it just lay down on its side, playing dead. See bottom photo.

The males have bright yellow upper wings with a red spot on each wing, whilst the females are paler in colour. Both remarkably resemble a leaf. This beautiful butterfly always keeps its wings folded at rest. Wingspan 60mm.

This is one of the earliest butterflies signaling the arrival of spring. As a long-lived species they can be seen in almost every month, but mainly June to September, and again in the spring. Found in fields, woodland rides, and gardens. A widespread and resident species, except for in the far north.

The caterpillars feed on various buckhorns.

Photographs taken May 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire, and June 2013, Wyre Forest, Worcestershire.


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