Clouded yellow butterfly

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Clouded yellow butterfly

Scabious,also called the butterfly flower

Scabious,also called the butterfly flower

The clouded yellow butterfly (Colias croceus) is a lovely bright yellow with a red fringe around its wings. There are two versions of this butterfly, the clouded yellow and the pale clouded yellow. They are both migrants to the UK but the clouded yellow is more abundant. They usually arrive in the UK in May from Europe (this picture was taken in France). It is a strong fast flyer quickly flitting from one flower to the next, not giving much opportunity for a photographer. In favourable years many thousands will migrate from southern Europe which is their stronghold. The early arrivals in May sometimes breed which gives rise to a brood in autumn, but none can survive the first frosts. In their homelands they are prolific breeders producing up to four broods with as many as 600 eggs in each. They lay their eggs on clover, lucerne, trefoils and melilot.

The clouded yellow butterflies spend most of their time feeding on the nectar of flowers like scabious (seen in the pictures), lucerne, clover, thistle, knapweed, margoram, aubrietia and marygolds. So growing those plants in your wildlife garden will attract them and other butterflies.

Click on pictures below to enlarge (only when NOT in slideshow mode).

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