Orange-tip

Anthocharis cardamines (an-thoh-KAR-iss kar-da-MY-neez)

Orange Tip male - Castle Hills Solihull 19.04.2014
Photo © Neil Freeman
 

Wingspan
40 - 52mm

Checklist Number
58.003

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:PierinaeDuponchel, 1835
Tribe:AnthochariniTutt, 1894
Genus:AnthocharisBoisduval, Rambur & Graslin, [1833]
Subgenus:  
Species:cardamines(Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies:britannica (Verity, 1908)
 hibernica (Williams, 1916)

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Introduction

The Orange-tip is a true sign of spring, being one of the first species to emerge that has not overwintered as an adult. The male and female of this species are very different in appearance. The more-conspicuous male has orange tips to the forewings, that give this butterfly its name. These orange tips are absent in the female and the female is often mistaken for one of the other whites, especially the Green-veined White or Small White. This butterfly is found throughout England, Wales and Ireland, but is somewhat-local further north and especially in Scotland. In most regions this butterfly does not form discrete colonies and wanders in every direction as it flies along hedgerows and woodland margins looking for a mate, nectar sources or foodplants. More northerly colonies are more compact and also more restricted in their movements.

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. cardamines

The species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Sweden). The nominate subspecies has not been recorded in the British Isles.

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. britannica

This subspecies was first defined in Verity (1908) (type locality: England).

This subspecies is found throughout the British Isles, with the exception of Ireland and the Isle of Man. Williams (1916) disagrees with a particular aspect of the definition: "The extension of the black apical markings to the anal angle, however, is surely not so common in British specimens as to justify its use as a character differentiating British from continental specimens. I have only two specimens agreeing exactly with the description".

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. britannica (Verity, 1908)

Original (French)

Dans les îles Britanniques cardamines tend à prendre une forme assez particulière (fig.8) qui se distingue par la coupe assez allongée et étroite des antérieures, par le peu d'étendue de la tache aurore, surtout vers l'angle interne, et par l'étendue de la tache noire apicale, qui s'étend jusqu'à l'angle interne et dont le contour est très diffus. Quoiqu'on rencontre des individus semblables à ceux du continent cette race locale mérite le nom de britannica.

Translation

In the British Isles, cardamines tends to take a rather particular form (fig.8), distinguished by the somewhat long and narrow shape of the forewings, by the limited extent of the golden spot, especially towards the anal angle, and by the extent of the black apical spot, which reaches to the anal angle and is ill-defined. Although one finds individuals similar to those on the continent this local race merits the name Britannica.

Orange Tip male - Five Oaks, Sussex 8-April-2014

Male
Photo © Neil Hulme

Orange-tip male -  Five Oaks, Sussex 30-Mar-2014

Male Underside
Photo © Neil Hulme

Orange-tip female - Solihull West Midlands 28.04.2014

Female
Photo © Neil Freeman

Orange-tip female - Solihull West Midlands 23.05.2015

Female Underside
Photo © Neil Freeman

Photo Album ...


Anthocharis cardamines ssp. hibernica

This subspecies was first defined in Williams (1916).

This subspecies is common throughout Ireland. Chalmers-Hunt (1970) extends the distribution of this subspecies to the Isle of Man, acknowledging that "The earliest reference to cardamines as Manx is to be found in Newman (1870), most probably on Birchall's authority". This subspecies differs from the subspecies britannica as follows:

  • 1. It is slightly smaller although, according to Dennis (1977), Huggins (pers. comm.) contests this.
  • 2. The black markings on the upperside fringes are more strongly marked.
  • 3. The underside forewing of the male is frequently tinged yellow although this is also, according to Dennis (1977), contested by Huggins (pers. comm.) on the grounds that this feature is no less common in England.
  • 4. The upperside hindwing of the female is strongly tinged yellow. According to Ford (1945) "This condition is rare but not unknown in Britain" and Dennis (1977) states that "this character is only more or less common to the normal white form".
  • Anthocharis cardamines ssp. hibernica (Williams, 1916)

    Slightly smaller on the average than the type, the black spots at the ends of the nervures more strongly marked. The ♂ frequently suffused with yellow on the underside of the forewing, the ♀ usually with the hindwing strongly suffused with yellow.

    This form appears to occur throughout Ireland. It is figured in South (Butts. Brit. Isles, pl. 17).

    Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14-8

    Male
    Photo © Pete Eeles

    Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14-9

    Male Underside
    Photo © Pete Eeles

    Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-18

    Female
    Photo © Pete Eeles

    Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-10

    Female Underside
    Photo © Pete Eeles

    Photo Album ...


History

The table below shows a chronology of vernacular names attributed to this species. Any qualification of the name (e.g. male, female) is shown in brackets after the name.

YearNameReference
1699White Marbled Male Butterfly (male)Petiver (1695-1703)
1699White Marbled Female Butterfly (female)Petiver (1695-1703)
1710Common White Marble Male ButterflyRay (1710)
1710Common White Marble Female ButterflyRay (1710)
1742Lady of the WoodsWilkes (1742)
1748Prince of OrangeDutfield (1748-1749)
1748Wood LadyDutfield (1748-1749)
1749Orange-tip ButterflyWilkes (1749)
1853Orange TippedMorris (1853)
1959Orange-tip WhiteHeslop (1959)

Conservation Status

This is one of the few butterflies whose population and distribution are both increasing and, as such, is not a species of conservation concern.

UK BAP StatusOccurrence Change
1976-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
1976-2014 (%)
Occurrence Change
2005-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
2005-2014 (%)
Not Listed
Stable+8
Increase+10
Stable-4
Large Increase+59

The table above shows the occurrence (distribution) and abundance (population) trends, using information from The State of the UK's Butterflies 2015 (Fox, 2015). Any UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).

Habitat

The species has a wide range of habitats which include country lanes, hedgerows, riverbanks, woodland margins and rides, and damp meadows. The species will also turn up in gardens.

Distribution

 

Click here to see the distribution of this species or here to see the distribution of this species together with specific site information overlaid.

Life Cycle

There is a single brood each year, with adults flying from the beginning of April, through May and into June. In exceptionally early years a small second brood may appear.

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. britannica

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. hibernica

The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.

 

Imago

Males are more-often noticed than females, largely due to the highly-visible orange splashes seen as the male butterfly flits along. It is believed that the orange tips of the male are an example of warning colouration, indicating that the butterfly is not particularly palatable to predators - a result of mustard oils that have accumulated in the body from the larval foodplant. The male is also the more-active of the two sexes as it searches out a mate and can be seen flying for long periods without ever stopping to rest or nectar. The female, on the other hand, is usually more concerned with egg-laying and, as a consequence, is often found in the vicinity of foodplants. Her more-secretive behaviour may also explain why she does not exhibit the warning colouration present in the male.

Both sexes have an amazing underside pattern of green blotches formed by a combination of yellow and black scales. When at rest on a flower head of the foodplant this butterfly so well camouflaged that an adult resting just a few feet away can easily be missed, even by an experienced observer.

When searching out suitable plants on which to lay, the female will initially locate a plant by sight before alighting on the plant and tasting it with her feet. If the plant is suitable, a single egg is laid on a flower stalk. Eggs are laid singly for good reason - the larvae are cannibalistic. As a result, it is uncommon to find more than one egg per plant and it is believed that the female is able to detect eggs that have already been laid.

Adults feed primarily on Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Red Campion (Silene dioica) and Vetches (Vicia spp.).

Anthocharis cardamines ssp. britannica

orange-tip with scale detail - Cirencester, Glos. 15-4-2011

Photo © jamesweightman
15-Apr-2011

Orange Tip female - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-07

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2007

Orange-tip - imago - Woolhampton - 15-Apr-11 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange Tip on Herb Robert - Coverdale Road Solihull West Midlands 12.05.2012

Photo © Neil Freeman
12-May-2012

Orange-tip - female - Thatcham - 19-Apr-14 {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Apr-2014

Orange Tip male on Blackthorn - Castle Hills, Solihull, West Midlands 13.04.2012

Photo © Neil Freeman
13-Apr-2012

Orange Tip Male - Caterham, Surrey (Reared) 8-April-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
08-Apr-2011

Orange Tip Male and Female - Caterham, Surrey (Reared and Released) 15-April-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
15-Apr-2011

Orange-tip - Sussex 4-May-2016

Photo © trevor
04-May-2016

Orange Tip Male - Woldingham, Surrey 3-May-10

Photo © Vince Massimo
03-May-2010

Orange-Tip - imago - Midgham Lakes - 14-Apr-09 (3)

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2009

Orange-tip female - Solihull West Midlands 23.05.2015

Photo © Neil Freeman
23-May-2015

Orange Tip pair with two other males in close attendance, Aberlady, East Lothian 22/05/2012

Photo © NickMorgan

Orange Tip pair (male on the left) - Woldingham Woods, Surrey 30-April-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Apr-2012

Orange-tip - male - Thatcham - 16-Apr-14 {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles
16-Apr-2014

Orange-tip - female - Thatcham - 16-Apr-14 {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles
16-Apr-2014

Orange-tip - male - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 05-May-16-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
06-May-2016

Orange-tip (male), Plaistow, West Sussex (7 May 2013)

Photo © Mark Colvin

Orange-tip male - Solihull West Midlands 03.05.2015

Photo © Neil Freeman
03-May-2015

Orange Tip male - Five Oaks, Sussex 3-April-2011

Photo © Neil Hulme
03-Apr-2011

Photo Album (99 photos) ...


Anthocharis cardamines ssp. hibernica

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-18

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 19-Apr-14-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 19-Apr-14-7

Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 20-Apr-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-17

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-Tip - Female Upperside 09/05/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Photo © Dave McCormick

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-11

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hiberntica - male - Thatcham - 05-May-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
05-May-2016

Orange-Tip - ssp hibernica - Ballinasloe, Co. Galway - Apr-08 [Graham Smith]

Photo © Graham Smith

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14-7

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14-9

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hiberntica - male - Thatcham - 04-May-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-May-2016

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 18-Apr-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 20-Apr-14-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - male - Craigavon Lakes - 19-Apr-14-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Orange-tip ssp. hibernica - female - Craigavon Lakes - 21-Apr-14-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2014

Photo Album (31 photos) ...


Ovum

Eggs are a greenish-white when first laid, but gradually turn orange and are one of the easiest eggs of all species to find, tucked away on a flower stalk of the foodplant.

Eggs are sometimes found on the same plants as those used by the Green-veined White. However, the two species are not in competition since the Green-veined White eats the leaves of the plant, whereas the Orange-tip primarily feeds on the developing seed pods. The larva emerges after 1 or 2 weeks.

"Eggs laid on May 28th, 1907, hatched on June 4th, remaining in the egg stage seven days. The egg is 1.21 mm. high, of an elongated pyriform shape, widest about the middle. The summit is slightly rounded and has a reticulated surface. There are about eighteen longitudinal keels; twelve of these run the entire length, the remaining six commence a little below the summit and run to the base; the intervening spaces have each about forty transverse ribs. When first laid the egg is a pale greenish-yellowish-white, which gradually deepens into yellow at the base and blends into orange at the middle, which colour extends to the summit; it afterwards becomes orange all over, and finally, before hatching, it changes to pale ochreous-brown. In some specimens the crown is transparent, caused by the embryo not reaching quite to the apex. The eggs are laid singly, standing erect, and are usually deposited on the base of the calyx or on the stalk quite close to it." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange Tip Ovum - Horton Heath 29 May 2014

Photo © andy brown

Orange-tip - ovum - Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 29-May-13-2

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange Tip Ovum (Freshly Laid) - Crawley, Sussex 15-April-09

Photo © Vince Massimo
15-Apr-2009

Orange-tip egg hatch sequence

Photo © jamesweightman
Egg collected 18/4/2011 laid on Garlic Mustard; Cirencester Gloucestershire. Set up in "studio"; sequence photographed 22-24/4/2011; hatching occurred within 1 hour on 24th. Canon 7D DSLR + Canon 65mm macro x5 + MT-24EX twin flash. Camera mirror-lock used to reduce any vibration.

Orange-Tip - ovum - Forton, Somerset - 14-May-06 [Adrian Dexter]

Photo © Adrian Dexter

Orange-Tip - ovum - Ufton Nervet - 21-Apr-07 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Apr-2007

Orange-tip - ovum - Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 29-May-13

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange-Tip - ovum - Woolhampton - 12-Apr-11 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange Tip Ovum 7-May-2013

Photo © Tony Moore

Orange-egg laid on Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris) - Bookham Commons 14th May 2016

Photo © bugboy
14-May-2016

Orange-Tip - ovum - Woolhampton - 12-Apr-11 (3)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange-Tip - ovum - Thatcham - 02-May-04 (2) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-May-2004

Orange-tip ovum - Surrey - 4th - May - 2014

Photo © Maximus
05-May-2014

Orange Tip Ovum - About To Hatch - Somerset - 05/06/13

Photo © William
05-Jun-2013

1553 - Orange Tip Ovum 24/4/15

Photo © andy brown
24-Apr-2015

Orange Tip Ovum - Crawley, Sussex 5-May-09

Photo © Vince Massimo
05-May-2009

Orange Tip Ovum - About to Hatch - Somerset - 03/05/14

Photo © William
04-May-2014

Orange-tip - ovum - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 01-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-May-2016

Orange-tip - ovum - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 05-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
05-May-2016

Orange Tip Ovum - Somerset - 26/05/14

Photo © William
26-May-2014

Photo Album (23 photos) ...


Larva

The larva eats its eggshell on hatching and, given its cannibalistic tendencies, will also eat any other Orange-tip eggs it encounters. The main source of food is developing seed pods, although the larva will also eat flowers and leaves on occasion. The caterpillar is superbly camouflaged in all instars, especially when resting lengthwise along a developing seed pod.

The larva will travel extensively in search of a suitable pupation site. There are 4 moults in total and the larval stage lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.

The primary larval foodplants are Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) and Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Hairy Rock-cress (Arabis hirsuta), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Large Bitter-cress (Cardamine amara), Turnip (Brassica rapa) and Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris) are also used.

moult of Orange-tip 1st instar larva

Photo © jamesweightman
Moult of Orange-tip 1st instar larva 27/4/2011. Head & body come away in different directions. Whole process took about 10 minutes.

Orange-tip larvae. Seaford, 2011.

Photo © badgerbob
12-May-2011

Orange-tip - larva - Thatcham - 24-May-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
24-May-2015

Orange-tip - larva - Thatcham - 24-May-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
24-May-2015

Photo Album (4 photos) ...


1st Instar

"By the time the egg hatches the young tender seed-pod is partly developed which forms the food of the little larva. But directly after leaving the egg the larva eats the empty egg-shell, and should it find an unhatched egg it immediately devours that also. After its first meal, consisting of the shell, it then crawls on to the seed-pod, on which it takes up its abode and feeds. During their earlier stages the larva: greedily devour each other. Directly after emergence the larva measures 1.5 mm. long and is cylindrical, the head large. The entire colouring is deep ochreous-yellow, densely sprinkled all over with minute black points, which gives a rough, dull, ochreous appearance to the skin; on the side of each segment are five olive-coloured warts forming longitudinal rows; three are situated in a triangle, one dorsal, one sub-dorsal and the third super-spiracular, the remaining two are sub-spiracular, placed side by side, forming a lateral row; all these warts bear fine straight shining black spines with cleft knobs, which excrete a tiny bead of white liquid that gives the spines the appearance of fine black pins with glass heads. The spines are of considerable length, excepting the anterior sub-spiracular one, which is short; this and the super-spiracular one are directed a little forward, the others project backwards; on the claspers are two simple spines pointing downwards; the legs and claspers are whitish clouded with dusky blotches; the head is similar to the body in its warts, spines and colouring." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange-tip 1st instar larva 26/4/2011

Photo © jamesweightman
24-Apr-2011

Orange-tip - larva - Midgham Lakes - 01-May-10 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-May-2010

Orange-tip - larva 1st instar - Thatcham - 25-May-13 (1) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange-tip larva, 1st instar feeding. Seaford, E. Sussex. 20/5/2014.

Photo © badgerbob
20-May-2014

Orange Tip Larva - First Instar - Somerset - 26/05/14

Photo © William
26-May-2014

Horton Heath - 29 May 2014

Photo © andy brown

Orange-tip - 1st instar larva - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 05-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
05-May-2016

Orange-tip 1st instar larva with probable cannibalised ova. Sussex 5-May-2017

Photo © badgerbob

Orange-tip larva 1st instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 21-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
21-Apr-2017

Photo Album (9 photos) ...


2nd Instar

"A larva that hatched on May 18th, 1890, moulted first time on the evening of the 20th, remaining only about two and a half days in first stage. Fig. 4. Before first moult it measures 3.6 mm. long; it is uniformly cylindrical. The colour is rather more olive than when first hatched and has a pale lateral line. Before second moult it is 6.5 mm. long; the colour is a very pale greenish-grey, with a whitish lateral line, and the under surface is of an olive colour; the whole surface is minutely speckled with dusky-olive, in addition to the larger dark shining spine bearing warts; the head is dull olive, the legs and claspers are much the same as in the previous stage." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange Tip - Early Instar Larva - Somerset - 05/06/13

Photo © William
05-Jun-2013

Orange-tip larva 2nd instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 2nd instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 23-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 23-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 23-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 23-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 23-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 22-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (2nd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 22-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 2nd instar (post moult) - Crawley, Sussex 22-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 2nd instar (post moult) - Crawley, Sussex 22-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Apr-2017

Photo Album (11 photos) ...


3rd Instar

"The second moult occurred midnight, May 23rd, being three days in the second stage. Before third moult it measures 10.5 mm. in length. The colour is shining grey-green, becoming whiter along the spiracular region, and finally shades into a white lateral stripe, bordered below by a smoky-black stripe, which blends into smoky-green on the under surface. The entire surface is sprinkled with black warts, varying in size, some being very minute; the most conspicuous are three on the side of each segment, placed in the form of a triangle, each emitting a fine black bristle; the tip of each exudes a tiny bead of white liquid, all the other minute warts also emit bristles. The head is similar to the body in colour and studded with warts and bristles; it is united to the body by a narrow black collar. The legs and claspers are black at the tips. During the moulting process it rests on a layer of silk spun on the stem of the plant. In each stage the larvae feed during both day and night, eating all parts of the plant when the seed-pods are consumed, and they grow rapidly." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange-tip 3rd Instar larva. Reared 3/5/2011

Photo © jamesweightman
03-May-2011

Orange-Tip - larva - Thatcham - 11-May-04

Photo © Pete Eeles
11-May-2004

Orange Tip larva - Caterham, Surrey 4-June-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
04-Jun-2012

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 25-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
25-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 25-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
25-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 25-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
25-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (3rd instar) - Crawley, Sussex 24-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Apr-2017

Photo Album (10 photos) ...


4th Instar

"Third moult during the evening of May 26th, again occupying three days in the third stage. Before fourth moult it measures 17.5 mm. The dorsal surface is a clear green, shading into bluish along the side, and finally into a white lateral stripe, which is dilated and sharply defined below by the dark smoky-green of the under surface; just above the spiracles is an indication of a yellow longitudinal line; the spiracles are greyish-green. The warts and bristles are similar to the previous stage, but there is now a black wart on each segment situated on the lower edge of the white lateral stripe, excepting the first three, where they are placed in the middle of the stripe; on the anal segment the wart is absent. The ventral surface is also covered with minute warts. The head is greyish-green and furnished with numerous warts and bristles like the body. The legs are transparent grey-green with black extremities, and the claspers are clear green with very minute black warts, each having a most minute bristle. The entire surface is of glassy appearance." - Frohawk (1924)

orange-tip 4th instar head

Photo © jamesweightman
Detail of head of larva 8/5/2011 (pollen attached?) Canon 7D + twin flash + 65mm macro at 4x
08-May-2011

reared orange-tip 4th instar 8/5/2011

Photo © jamesweightman
08-May-2011

Orange-Tip - larva - Magdalen Hill Down - 21-May-11

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange Tip Larva - Solihull West Midlands 17.06.2012

Photo © Neil Freeman
17-Jun-2012

Orange Tip larva - Caterham, Surrey 18-June-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
18-Jun-2012

Orange-tip larva 4th instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 30-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 4th instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 28-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
29-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 4th instar (pre moult) - Crawley, Sussex 28-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 27-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
27-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 27-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
27-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 27-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
27-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 26-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
26-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 26-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
26-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 26-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
26-Apr-2017

Photo Album (14 photos) ...


5th Instar

"The fourth and last moult took place midday on June 2nd, 1890, the fourth stage occupying six and a half days. After the fourth moult and fully grown the larva measures about 31 mm. long; it is slender and of almost uniform thickness throughout. The head is the same width as the first segment, and the anal extremity is slightly attenuated; the segmental sub-divisions, numbering seven, are all uniform in width, forming a series of regular transverse wrinkles, which reach to the spiracular region and disappear on the dilated lateral ridge; the ventral surface is somewhat flattened. The colour of the dorsal surface is green, fading into glaucous-green of a decided blue tinge, which gradually fades into pure white on the lateral ridge, forming a conspicuous longitudinal white stripe; the whole of the ventral surface, including the legs and claspers, is of a rich and rather deep green; the spiracles are white. The whole surface is sprinkled with warts of various sizes, each emitting a bristle; all the warts and bristles are black, excepting some on the white stripe, which are likewise white, and others black; the longest dorsal bristles are cleft at the tips and bear minute beads of fluid. The largest warts are mostly situated in the centre of each sub-division, forming transverse rows of rather conspicuous black dots. The head is likewise sprinkled with similar warts and is of the same colour as the body. The larva rests in a straight position along the stem or seed-pod of its food plant. The larva ceased feeding on June 8th (having fed for six days since moulting), and after roaming about for thirty hours it spun up for pupation on the evening of June 9th; it then attached itself to the stem of the food plant by a silk cincture round the waist and a silken pad to which the anal claspers were firmly fixed, and then remained motionless until pupating, which took place midday June 11th, 1890, the last stage occupying nine days." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange-tip larva - Caterham, Surrey 10-July-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
10-Jul-2013

Orange-tip larva (preparing to pupate) - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-tip larva (5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 1-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
01-May-2017

Orange tip larva preparing to pupate (showing "embyronic wings") - Somerset 30-June-2013

Photo © William
30-Jun-2013

Orange-tip larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-tip larva 5th instar (emerging from moult) - Crawley, Sussex 30-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Apr-2017

Orange Tip larva - Caterham, Surrey 30-June-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Jun-2012

Orange-Tip - larva - Thatcham - 02-Jun-07 (2)

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jun-2007

Orange-tip larva (5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 29-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
29-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva 5th instar (post moult) - Crawley, Sussex 30-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva (1 hour before pupation) - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-tip - final instar larva - Thatcham - 16-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
16-May-2016

Orange Tip Larva (Reared) Caterham, Surrey 31-May-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
31-May-2011

Orange-tip larva (5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 1-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
01-May-2017

Orange Tip larva - Caterham, Surrey 30-June-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Jun-2012

Orange-tip larva (moulting to 5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 30-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Apr-2017

Orange-tip larva commencing pupation - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-Tip - larva - Thatcham - 29-May-04 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2004

Orange-tip larvae - 5th instar - Surrey - 24.5.2014

Photo © Maximus
24-May-2014

Orange-tip larva (moulting to 5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 29-April-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
29-Apr-2017

Photo Album (32 photos) ...


Pupa

The pupa is formed upright on a plant stem or some other vertical surface that provides a suitable overwintering site, attached by a silk girdle and the cremaster. The pupa is green when first formed, with the majority eventually turning light brown to more-closely match its surroundings. This species overwinters in this stage.

"The pupa measures 23 mm. long; it is much elongated and attenuated at the ends and strongly concave dorsally, forming a crescentic figure, greatly resembling a seed-pod. Dorsal view: The head is much attenuated, forming a long beak; the pupa is widest at the shoulders, becoming thinner behind the thorax, and again slightly wider, and then running off in a gentle curve to the anal extremity. Side view: The beak and head similar to dorsal view. There is a slight keel, commencing on the side of the head, which runs along the inner margin of the wing and continues down the side of the abdomen. The under surface is very angular, it runs in almost a straight line from the point of the beak to the tips of the antenna; the costal margins of the wings almost meet along the edges, the tips quite meeting and rounded; the line from the tips of antennae to the anal extremity forms almost a right angle with the line from the beak to apex of the antenna. When six days old the colour is much the same as the fully grown larva. The back is pale greyish-green, with a darker green dorsal line, and darker green bordering the whitish dilated lateral stripe, which is whitest along the inner margin of the wing and middle of the body, becoming tinged with sienna-brown at the extremities; the anal point and cremastral hooks are burnt-sienna colour; the wings have the ground colour grey-green, the neuration greenish-white, and there are fine lines of the same colour between the nervures. There is a black dot at the end of the discoidal cell. The antennae are cord-like and whitish; the under surface is greenish-white speckled with brown; on the legs are two black dots. Directly after pupating it is green with white markings, and remains almost unchanged for about forty-eight hours; after then it gradually becomes buffish in hue. When thirty-four days old all the green markings are changed into olive or greenish-brown, mostly so on the wings, medio-dorsal and sub-dorsal lines; the rest of the dorsal surface is of a pinkish hue and speckled with reddish; the general appearance is pinkish-brown, with the lateral whitish stripe strongly pronounced, especially at the middle, and the ends are pinkish. Such is the description of the normal colouring of the pupa; the colouring varies in certain individuals, and some are wholly of a green colour. Green form of pupa. Entirely green, with a whitish lateral stripe running from beak along the margin of the wing down the abdomen to the extremity; on this stripe are placed the yellow spiracles, which are very minute and only visible under a lens; the whole structural formation is outlined with yellowish; the antennae are slightly whitish, the apex of the beak is ochreous. The normal coloured pupa above described remained in the pupal stage for 329 days. About fifty hours before emerging the pupa began to show signs of colour change, which very shortly after rapidly developed, the colouring of the imago showing plainly the day before emergence. The butterfly, a female, emerged at midday May 6th, 1891. The pupa is attached to a stem, or other vegetation, by the cremastral hooks to a pad of silk spun on the stem, and by a cincture round the middle. No part of the abdomen of the pupa is capable of movement; it remains rigidly fixed to its support, and in both its form and coloration it so closely resembles a seed-pod that it almost defies detection. In this state of apparent protective resemblance this species passes about eleven months of its existence ... Owing to the great resemblance of the pupa to a seed-pod of the food plant it is generally supposed that the latter is the object to which the pupa is attached, and so passes its ten or eleven months' existence in security afforded by its protective resemblance. However, apparently such is not the case in a state of nature, as a large proportion of the stems of the food plants are subject to destruction during the winter months, when the pupae would likewise perish. Therefore, in all probability it is but seldom that this species pupates on its food plant. Only one such instance is known to the author, i.e., a pupa of the green firm attached to a brown withered stem of garlic mustard was found by Mr. A. B. Farn in Kent in mid-winter." - Frohawk (1924)

Orange Tip Pupa (hatching process) Caterham, Surrey 25-April-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
25-Apr-2012

Orange-tip pupation - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-tip pupa (30 mins. old) - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange Tip Pupa (green form) - Caterham, Surrey 4-July-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
04-Jul-2012

Orange Tip Pupa (2 days before hatching) Caterham, Surrey 15-April-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
15-Apr-2012

Orange-Tip - pupa - Thatcham - 27-Jun-07 (2) {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-Jun-2007

Orange-tip pupa (1 hour old) - Crawley, Sussex 6-May-2017

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-May-2017

Orange-tip - pupa - Thatcham - 29-Apr-13 (3) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange-tip - pupa - imago emergence sequence - Surrey - 31st - March - 2015 (REARED)

Photo © Maximus
31-Mar-2015

Orange-tip - female - imago emergence sequence - Surrey - 12th April 2015 (REARED)

Photo © Maximus
12-Apr-2015

Orange-tip - pupa - Thatcham - 29-Apr-13 (2) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Orange-tip - pupa - 50mins before imago emergence - Surrey - 31st - March - 2015 (REARED)

Photo © Maximus
31-Mar-2015

Orange Tip Pupa (3 days before hatching) Caterham, Surrey 14-April-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
14-Apr-2012

Female Orange Tip emerging - Caterham, Surrey (Reared) 14-April-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
14-Apr-2011

Orange Tip Pupa, Male (1 day before hatching) - Caterham, Surrey (Reared) 12-April-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
12-Apr-2011

Orange Tip Pupa (14 days before hatching) Caterham, Surrey 3-April-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
03-Apr-2012

Orange-tip pupa - Caterham, Surrey 17-Sept-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
17-Sep-2013

Orange Tip Pupa (Brown Form) Female - Caterham, Surrey (Reared) 24-March-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-Mar-2011

Orange-tip pupae - Surrey - 24.5.2014

Photo © Maximus
13-Oct-2014

Orange Tip Pupa (half hour before hatching) Caterham, Surrey 25-April-12

Photo © Vince Massimo
25-Apr-2012

Photo Album (67 photos) ...


Aberrations

Description to be completed.

Click here to see the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

Similar Species

Bath White

Description to be completed.

Green-veined White

Description to be completed.

Videos


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The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Boisduval, Rambur & Graslin (1833) Boisduval, J.A., Rambur, P. & Graslin, A. (1833) Collection iconographique et historique des chenilles; ou, Description et figures des chenilles d'Europe, avec l'histoire de leurs métamorphoses, et des applications à l'agriculture.
Chalmers-Hunt (1970) Chalmers-Hunt, J.M. (1970) The Butterflies and Moths of the Isle of Man. Transactions of the Society for British Entomology.
Dennis (1977) Dennis, R.L.H. (1977) The British Butterflies - Their Origin and Establishment.
Duponchel (1835) Duponchel, P.A.J. (1835) Histoire naturelle des lépidoptères ou papillons de France, par M. J.-B. Godart. Continuée par P.-A.-J. Duponchel. Diurnes. Supplément aux tomes premier et deuxième.
Dutfield (1748-1749) Dutfield, J. (1748-1749) A new and complete natural history of English moths and butterflies.
Ford (1945) Ford, E.B. (1945) Butterflies.
Frohawk (1924) Frohawk, F.W. (1924) The Natural History of British Butterflies.
Heslop (1959) Hislop, I.R.P. (1959) A new label list of British macrolepidoptera. Entomologist's Gazette.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C. (1758) Systema Naturae. Edition 10.
Morris (1853) Morris, Rev.F.O. (1853) A History of British Butterflies.
Petiver (1695-1703) Petiver, J. (1695-1703) Musei Petiveriani centuria prima-decima, rariora naturae continens.
Ray (1710) Ray, J. (1710) Historia Insectorum.
Swainson (1820) Swainson, W. (1820) Zoological illustrations, or Original figures and descriptions of new, rare, or interesting animals : selected chiefly from the classes of ornithology, entomology, and conchology, and arranged on the principles of Cuvier and other modern zoologists (Vol.1).
Tutt (1894) Tutt, J.W. (1894) The Genera Pieris, Schrk., and Euchloe. The Canadian Entomologist.
Verity (1908) Verity, R. (1908) Rhopalocera Palaearctica, Iconographie et Description des Papillons diurnes de la région paléarctique. Papilionidae et Pieridae.
Wilkes (1742) Wilkes, B. (1742) Twelve New Designs of English Butterflies.
Wilkes (1749) Wilkes, B. (1749) The English moths and butterflies: together with the plants, flowers and fruits whereon they feed, and are usually found.
Williams (1916) Williams, H.B. (1916) Notes on the life-history and variation of Euchloë cardamines L.. Transactions of City of London Natural History Society.