Mountain Clouded Yellow

Colias phicomone


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Colias phicomone

Male, Switzerland, August 2016

Colias phicomone

Male (behind) and female, Switzerland, August 2016

Colias phicomone

Freshly emerged Male, Switzerland, July 2011

Colias phicomone

Mating pair, Switzerland, July 2011, female on left

Switzerland, August 2008

Colias phicomone

Switzerland, July 2009 (my mother in the background)

Switzerland, August 2008

This female had almost entirely lost her right wings.

Colias phicomone distribution

The mountain clouded yellow is common in the Alps and Pyrenees, usually flying above about 2000m but lower in places. A little bizarrely, Tolman states that it occurs in the N. Carpathians, where it flies as low as 900m., but other authors deny it flies there at all. Kudrna states this explicitly and I have reflected it in the above map.

Where it does fly, it is easily identified. In both sexes the dark suffusion of the upperside is visible even in flight, making it look quite different from Berger's and pale clouded yellows. It is quite a different tone of yellow from clouded yellow. At rest it can be confused with the moorland clouded yellow and sometimes has a clear centre to the black discoidal spot, like that species. The moorland clouded yellow is more local, however, and has a much clearer upperside with solid dark borders.

The caterpillars feed on various plants in the vetch family - horseshoe vetch, bird's foot trefoil, clovers and others. They hibernate while still small and complete their development the following spring when the snows melt, generally emerging in June and July.