Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines

One of my very favourite butterflies the male Orange-tip, named so for obvious reasons.

May 2018, banks of the River Severn, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman


Anthocharis cardamines

The male is the star attraction of this species of butterfly with its bright orange wing tips. The female, in contrast, is completely white with no orange but with distinctive black tips, in which it may be confused with other Pieridae (whites). The undersides of both  sexes are mottled green and white which offers excellent camouflage when the butterfly is at rest. Wingspan up to 45mm (1 3/4in).

The caterpillars feed on Cuckooflower, Garlic Mustard, and Hedge Mustard. They are cannibalistic when young.

It flies March-July, and it is found in flower-rich habitats, especially woodland rides and clearings, hedgerows and damp meadows. Common and widespread throughout, except western Scotland where it is absent.

Photographs of male Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), taken April and May 2012, during a walk along a local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.