Orange Tip butterfly gallery, English butterflies insect artwork - Katey Jane Photography


Orange Tip Butterflies

The common name derives from the bright orange tips of the male's forewings. The males are a common sight in spring, flying along hedgerows and damp meadows in search of the more reclusive female which lacks the orange and is often mistaken for one of the other 'white' butterflies. The undersides are mottled green and white and create a superb camouflage when settled on flowerheads such as cow parsley and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). The male is able to hide his orange tips by tucking the forewings behind the hindwings at rest. On close examination of the mottling, the green colour can be seen to be made up of a mixture of black and yellow scales. The butterfly is found across Europe, and eastwards into temperate Asia as far as Japan. The past 30 years have seen a rapid increase in the range of the orange tip in the UK, particularly in Scotland and Ireland, probably in response to climate change.

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