Contents ] WoodWhite ] Brimstone ] LargeWhite ] SmallWhite ] Green-veinedWhite ] [ OrangeTip ] 

orange tip   <>   anthocharis  cardamines   <>   barr buí

Male Orange Tip, DHardiman May 2005.
      Male Orange Tip                                © D Hardiman  


Habitat:   The Orange Tip is widespread throughout Ireland and especially on roadsides and in wet meadows and marshes. 
It is single brooded.
Flight Times:   
                 Late April to end of June
Larval Food Plants:
                 It has a wide variety of crucifer food plants,
                 Lady's-smock  Cardamine pratensis,
                 Watercress  Rorippa-nasturtium aquatica 
Dame's Violet  Hesperis matronalis
Hibernation:   Overwinters as a pupa 

The male  is much more conspicuous and more frequently seen than the female as only the male has the bright orange tip on each forewing. The female has grey wing-tips with a black central spot on each forewings. The hind-wings of  both the male and female have mottled green undersides and this mottling can be faintly seen on the upperside. These latter features readily distinguishes them, especially the female, from other Whites.




Female Orange Tip, lateral view. DHardiman May 2005.

Female Orange Tip, dorsal view of left wings. DHardiman May 2005.

     Female lateral view

  Female dorsal view      © DHardiman 


Male Orange Tip, lateral view. DHardiman May 2005.

Male Orange Tip, dorsal view. DHardiman May 2005.

     Male lateral view

   Male dorsal view         © DHardiman 


Life Cycle of  the Orange Tip


The eggs are spindle shaped and c.1.2 mm tall.  Initially it is light green then a bright orange and finally a pale brown before hatching.
The deep orange coloured eggs are readily visible from a distance of one metre.

Orange Tip ovum on Lady's Smock
Ovum on Lady's smock 
                             © DHardiman

Only one egg is laid, in May or  June, on the young flower head of any one plant (this practice may be related to the cannabilistic nature of the young larvae).  Hatching occurs within 7 days.


On hatching, in June or early July, the larva eats its eggshell and any others of its own species that it encounters . First-instar larvae have numerous setae which bear globules (see next photo) containing a  sweet liquid that is attractive to ants.

Early instar  ©DHardiman


Mature caterpillar on Lady's smock          © DHardiman 2004


The fully grown larva leaves its food plant and may wander some distance to pupate among dense vegetation.
There it  attaches itself  to twigs or stems  supported by its cremasteral hooks and silken girdle.  With its colour changing from green to brown it is almost impossible to find. There it remains Overwintering and  perfectly concealed from July untill the following April.

Orange Tip pupa with larval skin (exuvia) attached. 2001

© DHardiman 2001


The Butterfly emerges in late-April or May.

Freshly emerged female Orange Tip drying on pupal case
                               © DHardiman 2005


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 WoodWhite ] Brimstone ] LargeWhite ] SmallWhite ] Green-veinedWhite ] [ OrangeTip ] 

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