Colias palaeno

Moorland Clouded Yellow


by Matt Rowlings

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Photo: palaeno

Valais, Switzerland, July 2006 (m)

Photo: palaeno

N Sweden, June/ July 2010

Scandinavian butterflies are much paler than those from further south.

Field notes and information

A distinctive species, yellow to lemon yellow with bold black borders which are visible in flight. The ground colour is paler in Scandinavia making the black borders even more prominent.

Identification & Similar species: A lovely species of bright lemon yellow and strongly contrasting black borders. It is actually quite distinctive in flight, the fully black borders and overall coloration differentiating it from the other clouded yellows,Colias, with which it can fly.

Distribution & Flight: Alps and east and north eastwards. Scandinavia. It flies in a single brood in early summer.

Habitat & Behaviour: Usually in open areas which may contain scrub. In the south it is a high alpine species (>1500m) or a species of upland bogs (eg. around 1000m). Further north, it is found at lower levels on bogs in hills.

It flies rather rapidly, often impossible to get close to unless you find them feeding or are lucky enough to spot one on a cool cloudy day. I remember catching my very first one after an outrageous long chase at high altitude on a roasting hot day on a very steep grassy slope - I was exhausted but ecstatic!

Variation: A yellow butterfly in the Alps, it is rather white in the northern range of high latitude Scandinavia.

Photo: palaeno

Valais, Switzerland, August 2012

Photo: palaeno

Valais, Switzerland, August 2012

Photo: palaeno

Jura, France, July 2006

Egg laying.

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N Sweden, June/ July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2006