Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
   Gloucestershire Branch

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James Weightman - The life cycle of the Orange-tip butterfly

The Autumn 2012 edition of Antennae (the Gloucestershire branch's magazine) had an article by James Weightman that includes some excellent photographs that deserve to be seen by a wider audience and to a standard that cannot be matched in our magazine.

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Copyright. Please respect James' copyright for the photographs and techniques document and the Gloucestershire branch's copyright for the article.

Egg hatching

Eggs hatching

First instar moult

Eggs hatching

Mature larva

Eggs hatching

Fresh pupa

Eggs hatching

Fresh imago

Eggs hatching

..and finally..

To witness some of the changes photographed here certainly required patience, and it has to be admitted, a generous slice of luck. There were however some useful indicators of imminent events.

But beyond these indicators there was no substitute for vigilance. Inconveniently, but perhaps not surprisingly, I have found these events generally occur during the hours of darkness. For this reason I have yet to witness a butterfly emergence; despite a late night vigil. The adult orange-tip in this instance must have emerged in the small hours of the morning!

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