Saturday, 31 October 2015

Clouded Yellow, early stages, ovum, larva [part 1]

The Clouded Yellow is a frequent visiter to our shores especially in the south of England in small numbers but, some years can produce very large influxes of these butterflies, crossing the English Channel in early Spring. Once mated, the females will normally start laying their ovum in May and the resulting butterflies from these eggs will go on to produce a second brood, flying Late September, early October.
The female Clouded Yellows will normally lay their eggs on Red Clover and Bird's-foot Trefoil two of the commoner plants used in the United Kingdom.
The ovum is a yellowy/white when first laid, normallyon the underside of the chosen leaf
After about 4 days the ovum turns an orangey/redin colour
The tiny 1st instar Clouded Yellow larva emerges after about 7 days, once the ovum has
 turned a bluey/grey
1st instar Clouded Yellow larva showing typical feeding damage to the Clover leaf
by a 1st instar caterpillar
Late 2nd instar Clouded Yellow larva devours the leaf from the top, and works its way down
3rd instar Clouded Yellow larva, when the Clouded Yellow larva passes it's droppings [Frass]
the larva fires it from it's abdomen like a cannon ball getting it as far away from the larva as possible
as the Frass gives off an odour and, so it helps to prevent predators from detecting the
whereabouts of the caterpillar
4th instar Clouded Yellow larva
5th instar preparing for pupation, the larval stage lasts about 4 weeks


  1. Excellent to see the development !

    1. Hi Sylvia, sorry, but i've only just seen your comment. Its very kind of you to take the time to read my blog. Thank you so much for your comment with is very much appreciated. Nick.