Donegal Wildlife Database - Insects - Lepidoptera - Butterflies - Pieridae

Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip

 The Orange Tip flies from April to July, and the male can be seen patrolling along hedgerows and verges whenever the sun is out. When at rest, both male and female can be hard to spot due to the green and white camouflage under the rear wing.

The female lays a single egg on the flower stalk of Cardamine pratensis - Cuckoo Flower, or Lady's Smock. The larva hatches and eats only the pods of the plant until it is ready to pupate.

Egg on Lady's Smock

The next 5 images show the larva in sequential stages of development. The first images show a recently-hatched specimen about 3mm long, and the fully grown one is around 2 cm. long.



The mustard-seed oils in the seedpods make the larvae and adults unpalatable to predators such as birds.

Two underside shots; male on the left, and female on the right:


Upper shots of female (left) and male (right).


The Orange Tip overwinters as a chrysalis that hatches out in April/May..

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