Butterflies - Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Fairly common and widespread in our area. The Orange-tip is a medium sized butterfly which is often seen in gardens and along hedgerows and roadside verges, especially in areas where water occurs. Males have white wings with orange wing tips. Females are white with black wing tips and can be easily confused with the Small White
Both the male and female have mottled pattern of yellow and black scales on the underside hindwings which provides excellent camouflage when they roost on flower heads such as Cow Parsley.
Adult Orange-tip butterflies are on the wing between mid-April and mid-June.
Eggs are usually laid singly on a variety of foodplants in bright sunshine within damp meadows or road verges, disused railway lines and ditches. On hatching, the larvae immediately eat the shell of its egg before feeing on the host plant. The larvae eat the seeds, developing seed pods and flower-heads. By the fourth instar the larvae may eat upto 6 Garlic Mustard seed pods in a day pausing every so often to rest.
The caterpillars of the Orange-tip are know to be cannibalistic and it is thought that a single Cuckooflower plant can sustain only one larvae.
- Larval Food Plants
- Key Sites
Cuckooflower or Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis)
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)
Turnip (Brassica rapa)
Charlock (Sinapis avensis)
Hairy Rock-cress (Arabis hirsuta)
Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris)
This butterfly is usually seen in damp grassy habitats or river banks where Cuckooflower (also known as Lady's Smock), the primary larvae foodplant grows or along hedgerows where Garlic/Hedge Mustard is found.
Resident in Warwickshire.
Draycote Meadows (WWT Reserve)
Harbury Spoilbank (WWT Reserve)
Brandon Marsh (WWT Reserve)
Welches Meadow (WWT Reserve)
Henley Sidings (WWT Reserve)
A photographic slideshow displaying various images of the Orange-tip is currently in development.
Details of how you can supply your own photographs for display here will be made available soon.
The flight chart below is based on observations of the adult Orange-tip butterfly in Warwickshire between 2005 and 2008. Peak periods are shown in dark green.