Clouded Yellow - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation
Clouded Yellow (m) 2006 - Trevor Chapman Clouded Yellow (f) 2006 - Clive Burrows

Clouded Yellow

Colias croceus

Less common migrant

Clouded Yellow branch distribution

Distribution and Status

The Clouded Yellow is an immigrant but numbers arriving each year vary enormously largely determined by weather conditions in southern Europe. Recently, there is some evidence that some individuals overwinter successfully as larvae or pupae in the extreme south of the country but most perish and die in the cold. There is no evidence of any such successful overwintering in our branch area

Habitat Requirements

Almost anywhere where there is an abundance of nectar sources. Clover fields are one of its favourite habitats

Larval Foodplants

Red Clover Trifolium pratense, White Clover Trifolium repens, Clover spp. Trifolium spp. Other possible foodplants include Lucerne Medicago sativa, Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus and Goat's Rue Galega officinalis

Adult Food Sources

Buddleia Buddleja davidii, Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinalis, Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra

Behaviour/Observation notes

Its quick flight and usual reluctance to settle long on a flower can make it difficult to get close and take a decent close-up photograph. Males are normally more active so seeking out females egg-laying in clover fields may present better opportunities

Clouded Yellow branch phenology

Life History

A few specimens visit Britain in the early summer in most years but most are recorded from August, the offspring of the early arrivals augmented by more immigrants from Europe. Eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the foodplant and hatch in about a week. Larvae spend about a month depending upon temperatures before forming pupae attached to the foodplant

Further information

Photo gallery
Branch Annual Report (2022)
UK distribution map
Full list of larval hostplants (Pieridae)
Stevenage butterflies - additional notes


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