Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies
Adults. Wingspan (33–)40–52 mm (dwarfism being occasionally encountered); the fringes conspicuously light-and-dark banded. Very slender-bodied to medium built; short-bodied. The eyes neither notched nor emarginate, being separated from the bases of the antennal sockets; glabrous. Antennae reaching about halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs rather gradual-elongate; not curved; flattened (blunt, pale-tipped). Labial palps ascending (appressed to the frons). Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.
Forewings. Forewings apically blunt. The outer and hind margins angled at about 100 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved to more or less straight. Uppersides of the forewings white; with a conspicuous discal mark (in the form of a small black spot, in both sexes); in both sexes white, blackish towards the base and apically to the mid-termen, and in the males with the discal spot enclosed in a spectacular orange blotch occupying on the outer half of the wing.
Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; with the outer margins not scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings white; not dark-veined; conspicuously patterned; without a discal mark; chequered with grey by transmission of pattern from the under surface.
Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings apically yellowish-green densely irrorated black and suffused whitish; not dark-veined.
Undersides of the hindwings yellowish-green densely irrorated black and with several series of irregular white spots, imparting a highly cryptic chequered effect when the insect is at rest; not dark-veined.
Wing venation. Forewings 12 veined; without basally dilated veins. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein (and with a faint upper one); the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b simple. Forewings with a discal cell; vein 2 departing from the cell less than three-quarters of the distance from its base (from about halfway). Forewing veins 7 on a stalk out of 6, 8 and 9 out of 7, 10 separate from near the top of the cell and 11 from lower down it, 12 free. The subcostal nervure 5-branched (Kirby).
Hindwings 9 veined; with a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings with a closed discal cell; the transverse vein complete. 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another.
Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs truncate-fusiform; longitudinally ribbed. The larvae associated with ants in the early instars (attracting them via secretions presented at the forked tips of long glandular setae); hairy (the hairs whitish from raised dots, and blackish from warts); exposed feeders. On Cruciferae: Sinapis, Cardamine, Sisymbrium, etc. - especially on the seed-pods, which it resembles in appearance.
Pupae ridged and angular (elongated, outwardly curved and tapering at each end); conspicuously patterned; without shining-metallic markings; exposed, with no coccoon; not suspended, but attached at the tail and secured by a median girdle of silk.
British representation. 1 species. Anthocharis cardamines (Orange Tip). The adults abroad May to June.
Status in Britain. Indigenous.
Distribution. Northern Scotland, southern Scotland, northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, and Ireland. Frequenting woodland and open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.
Comments. Flight irregular, fluttering.
Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Pieridae.
Illustrations. • Anthocharis cardamines (Orange Tip): photos. • Anthocharis cardamines (Orange Tip): egg, larva, pupa. • Larva and pupa of A. cardamines: Duponchel (1849). • Anthocharis cardamines (Orange Tip: Hübner/Curtis).
To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.
Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016. delta-intkey.com’.