Courting male and female Clouded Yellow butterflies

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The one disappointing thing about seeing lots of Clouded Yellow Butterflies, Colias croceus, is that they rarely sit still with wings open.

This is a real shame as they really are magnificent butterflies.

Well, for once, a wings open moment happened for us at the weekend at Gwennap Head, one of the best sea watching sites in the far south west of Cornwall

Amongst the many Clouded Yellows seen, which included an unusually high percentage of pale helice female forms, this courting pair landed on the path.

This rare photographic opportunity presented itself for a few seconds right in front of Claire ! Two of her images are featured.

And did the fact that I had the wrong lens on ( again! ) make me grumpy ? You bet it …. did !

See complete guide to Clouded Yellow butterflies, caterpillars and life cycle information

Identification of male and female Clouded Yellow

Seen with wings open provides the opportunity to see more easily recognisable differences between the sexes.

The male Clouded Yellow has black wing edges broken only with fine yellow lines and is generally an even more striking butterfly (see right). While the female has yellow spots in the black edging in both wings (see above)

The overall strength of colour may vary between sexes and individuals but the dark edging is usually consistent.

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