Orange Tip

Anthocharis cardamines


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Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, May 2013, with a wood white

Anthocharis cardamines

Female, Switzerland, June 2013

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, April 2018

Anthocharis cardamines

Female, Switzerland, April 2018

Anthocharis cardamines

Female, Suffolk, UK, May 2019

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Suffolk, UK, April 2019

Anthocharis cardamines

Female rejecting male, April 2017

Anthocharis cardamines

Female, Switzerland, April 2017

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, April 2018

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, April 2017

Anthocharis cardamines

The same male, Switzerland, April 2017

Anthocharis cardmines

Female, Switzerland, April 2013

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, May 2013


Female, Suffolk, UK, April 2007

Female, Suffolk, UK, April 2007

Anthocharis cardamines

Male, Switzerland, July 2016

Male, May 2006

Female, May 2006

Female, May 2006

Anthocharis cardamines aberration

Aberrant male, lacking black markings, Switzerland, July 2013

Anthocharis cardamines egg

Newly laid egg - greenish white - Suffolk, UK, April 2020


Anthocharis cardamines egg

The eggs turn orange after a while

Anthocharis cardamines egg

Suffolk, UK, April 2020

Anthocharis cardamines larva

Newly hatched larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2019

Anthocharis cardamines larva

First instar larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2019

Anthocharis cardamines larva

Older 1st instar larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2019

Anthocharis cardamines larva

2nd instar larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2019

Anthocharis cardamines

4th instar larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2020

Anthocharis cardamines larva

5th instar larva, Suffolk, UK, May 2020

Anthocharis cardamines larva

5th instar larva, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines larva

Larva fully silked-up, prior to pupation, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines larva

Larva on morning of pupation, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines pupa

Halfway through shedding the larval skin, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines pupa

Larval skin shed, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines pupa

Freshly formed pupa, Suffolk, UK, June 2020

Anthocharis cardamines pupa

The same pupa, some days later

Anthocharis cardamines distribution

Distribution

The orange tip is the spring butterfly par excellence. As the hedgerows burst into flower, so these delicate and beautiful insects begin to flit along them, occasionally resting on garlic mustard or other plants to feed briefly before moving on. At low altitudes, the last individuals may be seen in June but in the mountains, where they emerge a little later, fresh males are still flying in July.

The males are unmistakeable, even at a distance, with their brilliant orange tips. All other male orange tips of the genus Anthocharis have at least some bright or dullish yellow on the wings.In the far south of Spain the desert orange tip, Colotis evagore, flies. This lacks the green marbling beneath. Also in Spain the very local sooty orange tip, Zegris meridionalis may be found. This is generally much duller, with a more subdued, marbled green on yellow underside.Female orange tips, though superficially like other whites, are also easily distinguished if the distinctive mottled underside is seen. The upperside pattern is sufficiently different, too, for ready identification given a good view.

Orange tips lay their eggs principally on garlic mustard or cuckoo flower, though other crucifers may be used too. The caterpillars feed in the flower and then seed heads, before pupating on stems, where they uncannily resemble thorns. They hibernate as pupae, ready to emerge fresh and joyous in the spring.