Gonepteryx rhamni

Brimstone

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: rhamni

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamni

S Greece, June 2013

Field notes and information

Found across much of Europe, it's a common sight in many regions in early spring as hibernated males emerge in the first warm days of spring. As a "butter-coloured fly" this species may well have been the origin of the English "butterfly".

Identification & Similar species: The other Gonepteryx species are similar. The bright orange of the male cleopatra, G. cleopatra, is very distinctive. The powdered brimstone, G. farinosa, is difficult to separate. It is confined to the south Balkans where it is usually very local and difficult to find. The male forewings are powdered with andriconal scales giving it a rough texture. This is absent in the current species.

Females of all species are rather more tricky to identify, although wing shape is a useful guide.

Distribution & Flight: Throughout Europe except the far north. North Africa. Single brooded in June/ August then entering hibernation and emerging in March/ April.

Habitat & Behaviour: Frequently seen flying along hedges and woodland edges and feeding on garden flowers.

Photo: rhamni

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamniPhoto: rhamni

S Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamniPhoto: rhamni

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamni

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamni

Vaud, Switzerland, August 2006

Photo: rhamniPhoto: rhamniPhoto: rhamni

S Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamniPhoto: rhamni

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: rhamni

Middle Atlas, Morocco, June 2005