What is that yellow butterfly?
Hello! Have you noticed any flashes of bright yellow fluttering around the ivy yet? This spring, we have seen many of these bright yellow butterflies and since my daughter demanded to know their name, I thought I would share it with you too. So, are you ready to learn more and find out – what is that yellow butterfly? Then, lets get started!
Our most common yellow and white butterflies
Here in Ireland and the British Isles, there are five main butterflies that might make you stop and think, ‘hmmm, what is that yellow butterfly?’.
When compared side by side, two of them are actually, pale yellow, one of them is yellow- green, one of them is decidedly yellow and the last one is definitely a very bright, unmistakable yellow.
This butterfly is a male brimstone and once you have spotted one, you will never call the other butterflies ‘yellow’ again. But, who are these yellow and not-so-yellow butterflies. And more importantly, how do you tell them apart from each other?
Well, they are the:
- Small white
- Large white
- Green-veined white
- Clouded yellow
Which are our two palest yellow butterflies?
Out of our list of five, the two palest yellow butterflies, are the small white and the large white. Both often given the generic name of ‘cabbage white’ (because of their love for gardeners’ brassicas.)
As the names suggest, small whites are the smallest of the two butterflies and large whites are the largest. They both have creamy or pale yellow coloured underwings (seen when their wings are held upwards while resting), that are actually bright white on top.
The way to tell small white and large white butterflies apart is to look at the markings on the upper surfaces of their wings. The small white has little black tips and one to two black spots on its forewings. While the large white has a much wider, lunar crescent of black at its wing tips (and larger spots).
What is that yellow-green butterfly?
Next, let’s meet our yellow-ish green looking butterfly – the green-veined white. At first glance, with its wing out-spread, the green-veined white looks remarkably like the small and large whites, with bright white wing surfaces, a dark wing tip and a one or two dark spots.
But, once you pay attention, you will notice its wings look a lot more grainy. This graininess comes from its veins. The green-veined white, as per its name, has greenish-grey coloured wing veins.
Once it holds its wings closed though, these veins become even more prominent, being a much darker green underneath… and, the bright white of the surface gives way to a decidedly creamy-greeny-yellow colour.
What is that orange-yellow butterfly?
So, having met our palest-yellow and greenish-yellow butterflies, it is time to meet our orangey-yellow butterfly. The clouded yellow butterfly. This butterfly is migratory and comes and goes, sometimes in mass migrations.
What is that bright yellow butterfly?
Well, we have reached the end of this little tutorial on how to identify our most common yellow butterflies. I hope you have both enjoyed it and found it useful? If you would love to read more of my really easy nature walk tutorials, feel free to subscribe below x
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