|Orange Tip ( Anthocharis cardamines )|
So, as usual I did a bit of research and here's a bit of what I found:
- They are found across much of the UK except the far north of Scotland.
- Most often you will find them in damp grassy areas especially hedgerows, road verges and gardens.
- If you have Lady's Smock, Garlic or hedge mustard in a damp place they will love this as it is what the larvae mainly feed on.
- When a female is laying eggs she will only lay one on each plant, and will check or sense if there are any other Orange Tip eggs on the plant. This is because each plant can only manage to feed one orange tip larvae as they only eat the developing seed pod.
- If an emerging Orange Tip larvae finds other Orange Tip eggs it will eat them - yes they are cannibals! :-#
|I like this shot as you can see the orange tip on top|
and also a little bit of the green speckles underneath
- The butterfly in the pictures is a male as it has orange wing tips, the females have a black wing tip. Both have speckly green underwings. This helps with camouflage when they are resting
- Unlike the Brimstone I covered a couple of days ago they do not overwinter as adults but instead emerge in the spring and are one of the earliest butterflies.
- They have a small wingspan of around 45mm.
- The orange tips are a warning sign telling any potential predators that these butterflies won't taste nice. The food they eat as larvae builds up oils in them which make them taste unpleasant.
- The females are more secretive and are found mainly around the larvae food plants laying eggs. As they tend to be more hidden away this might explain why they don't have the orange colour on their wings.
- The pupae form in June or July but do not hatch until the following spring, though if conditions are really good they might hatch in July and have a second brood.
Here's a couple of links to other sites with more information, the UK Butterflies site has loads of photos of the different stages of their life:
Hope you enjoyed.