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Pale Clouded Yellow

Colias hyale

  • Family: Whites and Yellows – Pieridae
  • Subfamily: Sulphurs – Coliadinae
  • Wing span: Medium-sized, 40–50 mm (1.57–1.97 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Male pale yellow, female white. Forewing tip and outer margin black, also strong black central blotch. Hind wing with clear or unclear dark outer margin, middle with orange blotch.
  • Wing underside: Male forewing yellow. Female white except yellow margin and tip. Both genders’ forewing with black central blotch. Both genders’ hind wing yellow, 1 or 2 wine-red rings in middle. Wings’ edges with small dark spots. Reddish short hairs stand out as a thin stripe on wings’ margins if the wings are not worn out.
  • Habitat: Wasteland and fields with sweet-clover (Melilotus), legumes (Medicago) or clover (Trifolium).
  • Flying time: From late May and a bit more common in mid-July–late September.
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar (not in Finland).
  • Larval foodplant: Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca) and possibly also other pea plants (Fabaceae).

The pale clouded yellow is a casual guest in the south of Finland, wandering from other countries. It holds its wings against each other when it is resting, so the upper wing surface is difficult to study without catching the butterfly first.

Close relatives that look like are more common moorland clouded yellow and rarer clouded yellow. It can be told apart from the first one by forewings’ upper side’s dark wing tips, which have the same colour patches as the rest of the wing, the more pronounced central blotch on its forewings, and the row of spots along the edge of the underside of its wings. When flying it is easy to tell apart from the latter one because its upper wing surface lacks the orangey hue. Also, the central part of the underside of clouded yellow’s forewings are reddish, while pale clouded yellow’s are white or pale yellow. In addition, its hind wings are a purer yellow than the greenish yellow of the latter.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same group

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