Gonepteryx cleopatra



by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
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Var, France, July 2010


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Var, France, July 2010


Field notes and information

A striking butterfly, the male is bright yellow with conspicuous orange forewings which are clearly visible in flight and make it unmistakable. Unfortunately the species never opens its wings when settled, but with patience and luck it is possible to capture the upperside as a butterfly takes off from a flower.

Identification & Similar species: The bright orange of the male upperside forewing is unmistakable. It is replaced by similar species on the Canary Islands. The female is very similar to other Gonepteryx species, wing shape may help but this is a variable feature and may not always be reliable.

Distribution & Flight: South Europe northwards to south France and north Africa. Hibernated specimens fly in early spring. A second brood is possible, but usually it is only single brooded.

Habitat & Behaviour: Bushy places with flowers. Can often be seen patroling woodland edges and hedges.

Variation: Wing shape in the female is variable, sometimes making this feature unreliable for identification purposes.

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Var, France, July 2010

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Crete, June 2004

Gynandromorph - yellow orange parts are male, the pale green is female.

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Var, France, April 2018

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Var, France, July 2010

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Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

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Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

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Rhodes, Greece, May 2017

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Rhodes, Greece, May 2017

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Var, France, March 2018