Compare with: clouded yellow

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni


Best time to see: Apr to mid Jun

Key facts

A large butterfly with clear yellow wings, looking like a pale yellow leaf when perched with its wings closed

Habitat: woods, hedgerows and scrubby areas

Common in southern England and south Wales

Recognition

Clear yellow wings, paler in the female, and yellow body, with pink antennae; wingspan 60mm

Adults hibernate and emerge in spring, wander freely looking for mates and for buckthorn bushes to lay eggs

Young emerge in August and gorge themselves on nectar, preparing for hibernation

Lifecycle

Eggs are bottle-shaped and off-white, laid singly on the tips of branches of bushes of Purging or Alder Buckthorn

Caterpillars, bluish-green with a white stripe, hatch in June or early July, turning into a chrysalis in late July or early August

Adults emerge in August then feed through autumn ready for hibernation, re-emerging on the first warm days of spring

  • Main photo
  • caterpillar

Photo © Ken Wooldridge

Photo © David Corke