Lepidoptera The Orange Tip Butterfly – Euchloe Cardamines
No one could possibly mistake the male of this species for any other British butterfly, the popular name alone giving quite sufficient information for its identification, but the female Orange Tip is not tipped with orange, and its markings, both above and beneath, resemble those of Daplidice so nearly that the same written description might apply almost equally well to both.
Like many other butterflies, the Orange Tip is subject to variations in colouring. Sometimes a pale but bright yellow takes the place of the white ground, and the orange blotch of the male is occasionally present on the upper or lower surface only.
Cardamines is a single-brooded insect, and is essentially a creature of the spring, at which time it may be found in abundance in lanes, meadows, and clearings in woods throughout the British Isles. Its flight is so light and airy that even the female may easily be distinguished from other Whites when on the wing, while the brilliant orange of the male, intensified by the bright rays of the spring sun, may be identified at some considerable distance.
The food plants of Cardamines include the cuckoo-flower (Cardamine pratensis) and the bitter cress (C. impatiens), after which the insect is named, also water-cress (Nasturtium officinale), winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris), rock cress (Arabis perfoliata), hedge mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Jack-by-the-hedge (S. Alliaria), wild mustard (Brassica Sinapis), &c., and the eggs of the butterfly may be found on these during May and June.
The caterpillar (
The chrysalis (Plate VIII, fig. 8) is a very peculiar object. Both ends are much elongated and sharply pointed; and the foremost extremity stands out at an angle with the stem to which it is attached.
This butterfly should be looked for during April and May, but in mild seasons it may often be met with in March.