Sunday, 1 January 2017


The female Orange-tips commonly lay their ovum [eggs] on Wild Garlic Mustard and Cuckoo Flower. The eggs when first laid are pure white, turning orange after about four days and, hatches after a week.                                                

Female Orange-tip ovipositing on Cuckoo Flower
Female Orange-tip ovipositing on Wild Garlic Mustard
A freshly laid Orange-tip egg on the bottom of a Wild Garlic Mustard leaf
Orange-tip egg on a Cuckoo Flower stem, having turned orange 
Orange-tip egg 24 hours before hatching

On emerging from the egg the tiny larva have their first meal by eating the empty ovum. The larva moults 4 times, [5 instars]  and eats the old discarded skin.  On reaching the final stage, the 5th instar,  larva attaches itself to a plant stem, by means of a Cremaster, which it attaches the tip/bottom of it's abdomen to, with a series of small hooks, then it attaches a Girdle around the middle of it's body and the plant stem ready for pupation.

Orange-tip 1st instar larva having just emerged from it's egg

The tiny larva taking it's first meal, eating it's empty ovum casing
Late 1st instar larva ready for it's first moult

2nd instar larva directly after it's first moult
Late 2nd instar larva
3rd instar larva having just gone through it's 2nd moult
3rd instar larva just finishing eating it's discarded skin
Late 4th instar larva eating the leaf of Garlic Mustard
5th instar Orange-tip larva ready for pupation
     When pupating, it makes several changes before it is ready to overwinter at this stage. Resuming it's final changes to the pupa and the butterfly within, in early Spring the following year.
A few hours after the start of the 5th instar larva pupating
Eleven minutes later it looks like this
The Orange-tip pupa overwinters at this stage
A closer look of the above pupa
     In April the following year the pupa makes it's final changes.

A male Orange-tip pupa 24 hours before it emerges
A female Orange-tip pupa 24 hours before emerging
Male Orange-tip having just emerged from the pupa
Female Orange-tip having just emerged
Male Orange-tip
Male Orange-tip with closed wings
A very fresh female Orange-tip
Female Orange-tip with closed wings

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