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clouded yellow   <>   colias croceus   <>   buíóg chróch

Clouded Yellow Butterfly, Ringsend, Dublin
© DHardiman 2001  

Family:    Pieridae
  The Clouded Yellow is widely distributed     throughout southern and central Europe and north Africa, regularily migrating northwards with some reaching Ireland most years in early summer.  Their flight is powerful and rapid.
It is fairly widely distributed around Ireland especially in coastal areas and sparingly inland.
  Diverse habitats where flowers are plentiful.
Larval Food Plant:  Clovers  Trifolium spp.
                                            Bird's-foot-trefoil  Lotus corniculatus 
Flight Time:   May to September/October
Hibernation:     They do not survive Irish winters in any stage.



Life Cycle of  the clouded yellow


The tall, spindle-shaped. pale-yellow egg measures c.1.1 mm in height, turning pink then orange as it matures.
It is laid singly, usually around mid-June, on the upper side of  legume leaves or other food plants.  Hatching 
takes place in c. 6-10 days provided the weather is suitable.


The adult larva measures up to 33 mm in length.  The body is green and covered with short white hairs.  
There is a pale-yellow spiracular line with a series of red and orange markings either side of the spiracles. 
The head is green.

© DHardiman 2001

Immigration of the earlier adult butterflies can last from mid-May to mid-July and the resulting larvae can be 
seen anytime between June and August.
Larvae from the second brood and other migratory individuals can result in the larval period lasting from 
anytime between June and October.

After hatching the larva eats its eggshell  and then feeds on the leaves of its foodplant. When fully fed it goes   
on to pupate in favourable weather but is easily killed by damp and frost.


The pupa is suspended from a silken pad,  spun by the adult larva on plant stems,  by cremasteral hooks and 
a fine silk girdle.  Butterflies emerge in favourable weather in c. 2-3 weeks but  the pupae are easily killed by  
damp and frost.

Clouded Yellow pupa 2001

  © DHardiman 2001


Migratory adults may be seen on the wing from mid-May to mid-June and again in late July to 
These numbers can be increased by early summer immigrants breeding  locally and producing an Irish
generation  which emerges from pupation in August and September and sometimes survives into late 
October.  None survive Irish winters.

Years in which Clouded Yellows are plentiful are called "Edusa Years" (from its old name Papilio edusa).
About 10% of females have the orange on their wings replaced by light yellow and are know as   f.helice.



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Hesperidae ] Pieridae ] Lycaenidae ] Nymphalidae ] Satyridae ] Migrants ] .