Compare with: brimstone

Clouded yellow Colias croceus

Best time to see: mid Jul to end Oct

Key facts

A bright yellow butterfly that migrates to Britain each year, arriving in late spring in widely varying numbers

Habitat: roam almost everywhere, lingering to lay eggs on trefoils and clovers in cultivated fields or meadows

In good years a common sight in southern Britain, sometimes penetrating to northern England and Scotland


Rich orange upperwings with broad black borders, usually seen only in flight; underwings and body deep yellow

Rapid flight; when settled hardly ever opens its wings; wingspan 60 mm


Lay eggs singly on legume plants, mainly lucerne, usually in mid-June; in good years that brood lays again from August on

Dark green caterpillars with a yellow stripe hatch in June/July and again in autumn; very few survive the winter

Pale Clouded Yellow and Berger's Clouded Yellow are much rarer variants sometimes seen in southern England

© Dennis Carter