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Orange Tip - Anthocharis cardamines - Male
Orange Tip - Anthocharis cardamines - Male

Orange Tip
The orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) is a butterfly belonging to the genus Anthocharis in the order Lepidoptera, the suborder Glossata, the superfamily Papilionoidea, the family Pieridae, the subfamily Pierinae and the tribe Anthocharini. Scientific synonyms for Anthocharis cardamines are: Anthochares cardamines and Anthocaris cardamines. Orange tip have several sub-species to which belong: Anthocharis cardamines progressa, Anthocharis cardamines septentionalis, Anthocharis cardamines phoenissa, Anthocharis cardamines alexandra, Anthocharis cardamines hibernica, Anthocharis cardamines koreana, Anthocharis cardamines kobayashii, Anthocharis cardamines isshikii and Anthocharis cardamines hayashii.
Orange Tip - Male - Top view
Orange Tip - Male - Top view
Anthocharis cardamines are commonly found throughout Europe and Asia up to the polar circle, as well as in the Middle East. Their population has significantly increased in the last 30 years in Western Europe especially in Scotland and Ireland, this is attributed to climatic changes.However this species is in decline in Central Europe. Although numerous biotopes have been lost due to the expansion of agriculture onto meadow areas, the orange tip is not considered endangered. This species reproduces once a year.
Butterfly - Orange Tip - Female
Butterfly - Orange Tip - Female
The orange tip has a wingspan of 35-50 mm. The upper sides of the wings of both sexes are white. The outermost part of the forewings is grey to black-grey in the females, and orange in the males. This orange mark is characteristic of the species hence their name In the centre of the upper side of the forewings is a black spot, which is somewhat smaller on the males. The colouring of the underside of the forewings is roughly the same as the upper side.
Anthocharis cardamines - Female
Anthocharis cardamines - Female
The upper surface of the hind wings of the males and females is white. The underside of the hind wings is likewise white but with yellow and black scales, which appear as greenish-white veining and serve as excellent camouflage. This effect is augmented by the male orange tipís ability to rotate their forewings until they are completely behind the hindwings, so that when their wings are folded the characteristic coloured markings on the forewings are no longer visible.
Head of a Orange Tip
Head of a Orange Tip
The males are clearly identifiable due to their colouring, however female orange tips can be confused with other species such as the eastern bath white (Pontia edusa),the small white (Pieris rapae), the mountain dappled white (Euchloe simplonia), Anthocharis damone, Pontia daplidice or Anthocharis euphenoides.

Orange tips live on both, dry meadow rangesand damp meadows or pastures at heights of up to 1500 metres. They can be seen in bright, damp forest, at the edges of damp forest, at small lakes, in brook valleys, at river banks or dykes, in moorlands, in back gardens, at railway cuttings or in dirt roads.
Butterfly - Orange Tip - Side view
Butterfly - Orange Tip - Side view
Adult orange tips are active from the beginning of April to June, in warm areas from the end of March to the end of May. They are frequently found on cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and are very difficult to see when resting.
Due to their camouflage Orange tips mate in April or May. At this time the male orange tips (can be observed frequently at hedges and in meadows on their search for the shy and inconspicuous females. Oviposition of the fertilized females takes place separately (in rarer cases in small groups) do you mean that the eggs are usually laid singly on the preferred food plants of the caterpillars, such as the cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis), bittercress (Cardamine amara), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and many different Brassicaceae (in former times: Cruciferae). From the latter the female orange tip clearly prefer dameís rocket (Hesperis matronalis), although this offers little food for the larvae. They prefer to visit plants in damp and half shady biotopes. Food plants are chosen particularly because of their ethereal oil (mustard oil) content, which the females detect using chemosensors, which are on their forelegs. In order to avoid egg laying on the same plant by other orange tips, the female leaves odoriferous substances (pheromones) on the leaves.
The eggs are fusiform (tapered at both ends) and initially white in colour, later bright orange, then red. After 4-12 days the caterpillars hatch. They are elongated and reach body lengths of 30-35 mm. Young larvae up to the 2nd moulting are reddish-yellow which changes to yellowish brown, in the 3rd to 4th larval stage. above whitish-green and laterally known with fine-grained black dotting (warts). At the end of the last larval stage they are cyan in colour with a dark-green underside. The caterpillar has little green feet. Due to its appearance the caterpillar of the orange tip can be confused with that of the common brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni), but can however be distinguished by its black warts. The caterpillar lives from June to August on its food plants, where it eats the flowers and the developing seed capsules. The most caterpillars can be found on tower mustard plants (Turritis glabra). When 2 caterpillars meet on a plant cannibalism can occur between the competitors due to limited food resources. They also eat Eggs from the same batch.
Some examples of natural enemies of orange tip caterpillar are tachina flies (Tachinidae) and braconids (Braconidae), which lay their eggs inside the caterpillars. After hatching, the larvae eat their host from inside out. At the end of July or in early August the caterpillars pupate with their heads upwards. Pupation occurs on the ground near the food plants or on the stalks or branches of other plants. The pupae are initially yellowish-green, later yellowish-brown or grey brown, and are shaped like a boat with a crescent-shaped head, which looks like a thorn on a plant. At the end of March or in early April, after approximately 10 months of rest in the pupal state, the adult orange tips hatch. The orange tip was Butterfly of the Year in 2004.

Anthocharis cardamines
Common namesOrange-tip, Orange Tip
German namesAurorafalter
Dutch namesOranjetipje, Oranjetip, Peterselievlinder
Danish namesAurora
Finnish namesAuroraperhonen
Norwegian namesAurorasommerfugl
Swedish namesAurorafjäril
Spanish namesAurora, Musgosa
Italian namesAurora
French namesAurore
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire), West Midlands (Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire)), East England (Cambridgeshire (Huntingdonshire, Cambridge), Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire), North England (Northeast England (Northumberland, County Durham), Northwest England (Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester), Yorkshire (North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire)), South England (Southeast England (Kent (East Kent (Folkestone), North Kent), Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Sussex (East Sussex, West Sussex), Surrey county), Southwest England (Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire), Greater London)), Wales (South Wales (Southwest Wales (Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire), Southeast Wales (Monmouthshire)), North Wales, Mid Wales (Brecknockshire)), Scotland), Northern Ireland), Ireland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway (Vestfold, Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder, Akershus, Buskerud, Nordland, Oslo, Rogaland, Telemark, Hedmark, Hordaland, Nord-Trøndelag, Oppland, Sogn and Fjordane, Sør-Trøndelag, Østfold), Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland (Åland Islands)), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania))), West Europe (Austria, France (South France (Corsica, Occitania (Languedoc-Roussillon (Pyrenees-Orientales), Midi-Pyrenees))), Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Liechtenstein), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily, Sardinia), North Italy, South Italy, Central Italy (Lazio (Rome, Frosinone))), Iberian Peninsula (Spain (South Spain (Andalusia)), Portugal, Andorra)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania, Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia (Republic of Macedonia), Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia), Bosnia and Herzegovina), Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Moldova), East Europe (Ukraine, Belarus)
Far East (East Asia (China, Japan, Korea (North Korea))), West Asia (Near East (Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Iran), Palestine), Central Asia (Tajikistan, Turkestan (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan)), North Asia
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Norfolk Island


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Links and ReferencesAnthocharis cardamines in
Anthocharis cardamines in
Anthocharis cardamines in
Anthocharis cardamines in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Orange Tip - Anthocharis cardamines - Male
2. Orange Tip - Male - Top view
3. Butterfly - Orange Tip - Female
4. Anthocharis cardamines - Female
5. Head of a Orange Tip
6. Butterfly - Orange Tip - Side view
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Anthocharis cardamines
Orange-tip, Orange Tip
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
Anthocharis cardamines
Anthocharis cardamines cardamines
Anthocharis cardamines crocea
Anthocharis cardamines extensa
Anthocharis cardamines f. extensa
Anthocharis cardamines f. femininus
Anthocharis cardamines femininus
Anthocharis cardamines meridionalis
Anthocharis cardamines ondrii
Anthocharis cardamines orientalis
Anthocharis cardamines sajana
Anthocharis cardamines speciosa
Euchloe cardamines
Papilio cardamines
Anthocharis cardamines alexandra
Anthocharis cardamines britannica
Anthocharis cardamines brittanica
Anthocharis cardamines cardamines
Anthocharis cardamines crocea
Anthocharis cardamines extensa
Anthocharis cardamines femininus
Anthocharis cardamines hayashii
Anthocharis cardamines hibernica
Anthocharis cardamines isshikii
Anthocharis cardamines kobayashii
Anthocharis cardamines koreana
Anthocharis cardamines ondrii
Anthocharis cardamines phoenissa
Anthocharis cardamines progressa
Anthocharis cardamines sajana
Anthocharis cardamines septentionalis
Anthocharis cardamines septentrionalis
Anthocharis cardamines thibetana
Anthocharis cardamines turritis

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