Friday, 17 April 2015

Day 165 - Brilliant Brimstones

Hi all today's Day 165 and, as it's Spring, I thought I'd do something that highly relates to Spring. It will be the first ever Butterfly I have ever done in my Blog so it's a great 'honour' for this interesting insect. The title and the pictures will have given it away. Yes, that's right, today I am covering Brimstones. I have seen them in a number of places but the first place, I think, I have ever seen one was the RSPB Reserve, Titchwell Marsh. One fluttered past when we were driving to Nosterfield recently so it was a lovely reminder to do a butterfly post.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
So, here are the facts:

  • The word 'butterfly' is actually derived from the phrase 'butter-coloured fly'. This phrase is from the Butter-Coloured Brimstone. So all butterflies are actually named after the Brimstone!
  • The Brimstone has a rather perfect wing-shape. It perfectly matches up with a leaf when it roosts over-night.
  • They are often one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring. The buttery life cycle goes egg > caterpillar > chrysalis > butterfly. Brimstones emerge from their chrysalis in July and then spend the rest of the year feeding up ready to hibernate in woodlands. They then emerge from hibernation on warm spring days.
  • They live for around a year making them one of the UK's longest lived butterflies.
Feeding and showing off its leaf shaped wing
  • Outside of the butterfly family Nymphalidae they are the only species to hibernate as an adult.
  • There have been most sightings of these in England but there have been a few in Eastern Wales as well. There are also one or two scattered around Southern Scotland.
  • They have a minuscule wingspan of just 6cm. Sadly, no-one has yet put a Brimstone on some scales so I can't share their weight with you.....
  • They are not threatened in the UK and they have spread mainly to Northern England but it seems parts of Scotland too.
  • Males are much 'yellower' than Females as Females only have a very pale green that is almost white on them.
Very helpfully spreading its wings for a photo
  • They are usually found in open areas such as open Grassland, Woodland Clearings and Gardens.
  • You know how I said their wingspan is small? Well their eggs are minute compared to it at only 2.5 millimetres! Tiny!
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Wouldn't say they were a small butterfly, they are actually one of the larger UK species and very strong flyers to boot!

  2. They're such lovely butterflies and a sure sign of spring too! - Tasha