Orange Tip

After four days of heavy rain, northerly gales and cold temperatures May day dawned bright and sunny, by mid-day warm enough to bring out seven species of butterfly to my garden including my spring favorite, the Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

DSC_0305c
A May day male Orange Tip

These are small / medium sized butterflies with a wing span of 40-52mm 1 3/4 – 2 inches.  They are widespread throughout the UK and can be found in gardens, woods, roadside verges and river banks etc.  It is only the male that has the orange colouration, it acts as a warning to birds that they are not good to eat!  The caterpillars eat garlic mustard and cuckooflower so their bodies contain large amounts of bitter mustard oil.  The under wing of both sexes is beautifully camouflaged.

DSC_0161a
Female Orange Tip in the garden in April

Male Orange Tips are always on the move, wandering great distances looking for a mate, they rarely stop so it’s a treat when they do and you can photograph them.  The English common name, although descriptive, is rather boring.  It was once known as the ‘Lady of the Woods’.  In Germany it is called Aurorafalter or Sunrise Butterfly and in France L’Aurore the Rising Sun, really nice names befitting this little gem!

DSC_0308b

17 thoughts on “Orange Tip

  1. I saw one of this beautiful butterflies last week, but I wasn’t able to take a picture, because it was always fluttering around. How do you do that? So wonderful pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have followed them for ages hoping they would stop, now I watch and if they stay in one area they should settle, then approach very carefully. Mostly they keep on flying, but I just love to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!! Seven species of butterflies, and all in your garden! I would be more than happy if I saw at least one. Your images are absolutely stunning and the male Orange tip are so beautiful. Then I’m impressed by your knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There must be some plants in your garden that attracts them. I have no idea how many spices there are here in Malta. I tried to search and found that there are estimated to be 706 species here but that consist of both butterflies and moths. I guess there are more moths than butterflies.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Orange Tip is one of my very favourite butterflies. I don’t get them in the garden here, but I see them on the woodland margin. I have yet to see any yet myself this year. These are smashing photos, Brian!

    Like

  4. Yes, it is a very beautiful butterfly and indeed, not easy to photograph the male. Orange-tip is in Dutch oranje tipje, I do prefer the German Aurorafalter (living close to the German border)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s