Clouded Yellow butterfly - Colias crocea
Photo ©1999 -

Clouded Yellow - Colias crocea
Family - Pieridae
Also known as - the Saffron Butterfly

A regular migrant to the UK from Europe, and although seen in most years it is well known for occasional "mass" migrations, sometimes called "Clouded Yellow years".  Usually seen from March to October.  Found in fields, meadows and grasslands over much of North Africa and Southern Europe to the Middle East, occasionally reaching the Scandinavian region when migrating.  Feeds on leguminous plants, including Clovers, Alfalfa Lucerne) both found in Brickfields Park, and occasionally Birdsfoot Trefoil.  Breeds in the UK but does not over winter.  The caterpillar is bright green and hairy with a broad pale yellow / white stripe along its upper side.  Capable of two broods per year usually in June and August.

With a wingspan of 50-65mm (2-2.5in), when settled it always has it's wings closed so the greenish yellow undersides with central silver spot outlined in red are the usual view of this butterfly, however the wing upper sides are an orange-yellow with broad dark brown borders, in the female ♀ these borders contain yellow or pale white spots.  A small proportion of females are pale yellow and can be confused with the rarer Pale - C. hyale, and Berger's Clouded Yellows - C. alfacariensis.  Females are larger than the males ♂, both having a dark brown spot to the upper forewing whilst on the upper hind wing the females have the same central silver spot outlined in red as the underside which is absent in the male.

Bradley & Fletcher #1545

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