Butterfly jaundice

Yellow Butterfly is a light-winged diurnal butterfly that can be found in summer in clover or alfalfa fields. These creatures are very similar to some species of whitefish, so they can only be distinguished when they are in the caterpillar stages. The genus is prone to migration – moths go north in search of food plants.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Butterfly jaundice

Photo: Butterfly jaundice

Jelly (Colias hyale) – a butterfly belonging to the family of whites (Pieridae). The moth has several other names: hyal jaundice (1758), small peat jaundice (1761), common jaundice. The genus includes more than 80 species.

Interesting fact: The Latin name Colias hyale is given to the insect in honor of the nymph Hyale. She was a worshiper of the goddess of vegetation, Diana. Together they went hunting and relaxing on forest lakes. Their images in the paintings adorn the halls of museums.

For the first time, the species was described by the naturalist Carl Linnaeus.

In view of the wide distribution, there are many subspecies of the moth:

  • colias hyale hyale – common in Europe, CIS countries;
  • colias hyale altaica – Altai Territory;
  • colias hyale irkutskana – lives in Transbaikalia;
  • colias hyale alta – Central Asia;
  • colias hyale palidis – eastern Siberia;
  • colias hyale novasinensis – China.

Fun fact: During a long voyage around the world, Charles Darwin became enthralled by the sight of these adorable creatures when a population migrating to Indonesia surrounded his ship and landed on it to rest.

Appearance and Features

Photo: Meadow jaundice

Photo: Meadow jaundice

It is easy to confuse a moth with insects from the genus of whites. Only their caterpillars, the color of which is very different, will help dispel doubts. The caterpillars of this species are bright green in color. On the back there are yellow stripes and dark spots arranged in two rows.

Video: Butterfly jaundice

The color of the wings of butterflies is yellow, sometimes green. The size of the fore and hind wings is different, as is their color.

  • The wingspan of the male is 5-6 centimeters;
  • Females are a few millimeters smaller;
  • the length of the front wing of the male is 23-26 millimeters;

  • the length of the front wing of the female is 23-29 millimeters.

The upper side of the wings is usually yellow, the underside is grayish. Above the front wing is a dark sector with indistinct yellow spots. There are two black spots in the middle. The hindwings have orange discal spots, with double spots above. The underside is bright yellow.

The female is much lighter and her background is almost white, with yellow scales. The pattern is the same for both sexes. The forewings are rectangular in shape, the hindwings are rounded. They are adorned with pink fringes. The head is round, the eyes resemble a hemisphere in shape and are the most complex organ, consisting of six thousand small lenses.

The antennae are club-shaped, black, thickened at the top, pink at the base. The limbs are well developed, each of them is used when walking. There are receptors on the paws. The abdomen is thin, tapering towards the edge. The chest is covered with long hairs.

Now you know what the jaundice meadow butterfly looks like. Let's see where she lives.

Where does the jaundice butterfly live?

Photo: Common jaundice

Photo: Common jaundice

The distribution range of the moth is very wide – Europe up to 65 degrees north latitude. The insect prefers a warm temperate climate.

In Russia, it can be found in many regions, with the exception of the north:

  • Gorno-Altai;
  • European Central;
  • Baikal;
  • Tuva;
  • Volga-Don;
  • North Ural;
  • Kaliningrad;
  • European Northeast;
  • Nizhnevolzhsky and others

It can be found almost everywhere in Eastern Europe. In the east, near the Polar Urals, migrating individuals are often recorded. For a long time there was an opinion that the species does not live in Ciscaucasia, but now it has been refuted. Insects do not fly into the Kola Peninsula, into deserts and subzones of dry steppes.

Favorite places are open spaces of forests and steppes, meadows, clearings, edges, roadsides, gardens, river banks, wastelands. On flowering mountain meadows, you can see an insect at an altitude of up to 2 thousand meters above sea level. Found in Turkey, China, Mongolia.

An interesting fact: In the south of Europe and the Caucasus, there are twin species that even entomologists cannot distinguish – Coliashyale and Coliasalfacariensis. Adults have identical coloration and, when the caterpillar stage ends, it will not be possible to determine the species.

In spring and summer, Lepidoptera migrate north in search of food plants. Inhabits alfalfa and clover fields. Due to migrations, the species is found in the territories of Denmark, Austria, Poland, Finland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands.

What does the jaundice butterfly eat?

Photo: Butterfly jaundice from the Red Book

Photo: Butterfly jaundice from the Red Book

Imago feed mainly on nectar, which they collect from the flowers of white sweet clover, sweet clover, broom, red clover, sickle-shaped alfalfa, alfalfa, multi-colored elm, vetch (mouse pea), hypocrepsis, lyadvinets, sainfoin, crested horseshoe and other legumes, rosaceae and cruciferous plants.

The caterpillars hatched from the eggs superficially eat the flesh of the leaves, leaving the veins. After the third age, the larvae gnaw the leaves from the edges, along with the skeleton. Before hibernation, caterpillars feed heavily for a month, in spring this period is 20-23 days.

Marco Polo jaundice, named by the Russian scientist Grigory Grum-Grzhimailo in honor of the Italian traveler, feeds on astragalus plants. Christoph's jaundice feeds on cushion-shaped plants. Jaundice Viscotta chooses slopes planted with sharpwings. Peat jaundices feed on blueberry leaves.

Caterpillars mainly feed at night. Adults have taste buds on their legs that allow them to taste the nectar. Elastic and movable proboscis allows you to penetrate into the depths of the flower to get nectar. Caterpillars of some species prefer to feed on the leaves of thorny plants.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo: Meadow jaundice butterfly

Photo: Meadow jaundice butterfly

Moth flight in the southern regions occurs from April to October. In a year, 2-3 generations of insects may appear. The first generation in regions with a temperate climate flies from May to June, the second – July-August. Lepidoptera of both generations often fly simultaneously.

Butterflies are active only during the daytime. At rest, their wings are always folded behind their backs, so it is extremely difficult to see the upper side of the wings. Individuals fly very fast. In late spring and early summer, insects go to the northern regions to settle in places with a sufficient number of food plants.

Females are much less common than males, due to a sedentary lifestyle. They fly very rarely, most of the time they sit in the grass. Their flight is uneven, fluttering, jumping. Peat jaundice spends almost all the time in the swamps. Males, despite the sedentary lifestyle, during the period of mass summer can be found far beyond the usual range.

Maneuverable flight allows insects to overcome considerable distances. Usually they do not rise from the ground higher than a meter. Life expectancy depends on the habitat. In favorable conditions, it can be up to 10 months. Some species of jaundice live from only a few days to a couple of weeks.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Common jaundice butterfly

Photo: Common jaundice butterfly

Although the flight of Lepidoptera occurs once a summer, two generations appear in a year. On the wings of males are special scales that evaporate pheromones, designed to attract females of the same species. These scales are arranged in clusters that form spots.

During the day, partners are looking for each other for mating, they fly quickly and non-stop. After mating, females fly in search of food plants for caterpillars. They lay 1-2 eggs on the inside of the leaves or on the stems of the plant. The eggs are spindle-shaped, with 26 or 28 ribs.

Immediately after laying, the egg is yellow, but by the time the caterpillar hatches, it becomes red. The larva appears on the 7-8th day. The caterpillar is born green with pink spiracles about 1.6 mm long. The head is large, with white granules.

The summer generation develops in 24 days. Autumn larvae molt three times and leave for the winter. By this time they grow up to 8 mm. In Europe, caterpillars wrap themselves in leaves for the winter, and in colder climates they burrow into the ground.

By spring, the larvae reach 30 mm in length, they are covered with dark hairs. After the fifth instar, pupation occurs. Caterpillars cling to a stem or leaf with a silk thread. The pupa is also green, 20-22 mm long. In anticipation of the appearance of a butterfly, the chrysalis turns red.

Natural enemies of jaundice butterflies

Photo: Yellow Book Butterfly from the Red Book

Photo: Yellow Butterfly from the Red Book

For the most part, the enemies of caterpillars are predatory insects that prey on them. The natural enemies of adults are insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals.

Among them:

  • wasps-riders;
  • Hymenoptera;
  • Specidae;
  • Spiders;
  • Dragonflies;
  • Beetles;
  • Ants;
  • tahini flies;
  • predator bugs;
  • ladybugs;
  • mantises;
  • ktyrs;
  • large-headed;
  • lizards;
  • rodents;
  • frogs.

Birds prey on larvae to feed their chicks. Some birds attack insects when they rest, eat or drink water. Birds tease butterflies on trees so that their wings fly off, after which they eat only the abdomen. Southern birds grab Lepidoptera on the fly.

Many invertebrates are no less dangerous for the genus. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs on leaves, which are then eaten by moths, becoming carriers of parasitic wasp larvae that eat the butterfly alive. Inside the body, they feed on the organs of the jaundice, grow and develop. Up to 80 parasite larvae can crawl out of the caterpillar.

Some individuals get into the web, but a much larger number of insects die from predatory spiders that prefer active hunting. Parasites do not attack adults. They live on the body of the moth, but do not kill it, as their survival depends on the host.

Population and species status

Photo: Meadow jaundice

Photo: Meadow jaundice

The number of peat jaundice is insignificant. In some areas, for example, in the Rovno Reserve, 6-10 butterflies per hectare of habitat are recorded at the height of summer. At the caterpillar stage, insects cause significant damage to agricultural plantations.

Some farmers use insecticides to control the larvae. This causes irreparable damage to the population. The extraction of peat and the drainage of swamps have a negative impact on the natural habitats of Lepidoptera, peatlands are overgrown with trees and shrubs, which also leads to a decrease in numbers. Harvesting blueberries has a negative effect on the development of caterpillars.

In Western Europe and some Central European countries over the 20th century, the number has fallen to critical values. In biotopes, under suitable conditions, the number of individuals can be stable. In Belarus, it is gradually decreasing.

The limiting factors include the isolation of individual populations, the small area of ​​natural habitats, the development of oligotrophic bogs, the burning out and development of raised bogs. In areas where individuals were found in single quantities, these factors led to a significant decline in the population or complete extinction.

Yellow butterfly protection

Photo: Common jaundice

Photo: Common jaundice

Despite the fact that the genus belongs to the category of pests, it is nevertheless listed in the Red Book and protected by law on ecology. Hekla jaundice and golden jaundice are listed in the Red Book of European Diurnal Butterflies, they are assigned the SPEC3 category. Peat jaundice is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine with category I and in the Red Book of Belarus with category II.

Many species were listed in the Red Book of the former USSR. Species that are negatively impacted by humans need additional protection measures and control over their condition, search for populations in their habitats.

In Ukraine, peat jaundice is protected in several reserves in Polesie. In areas with a high population, it is recommended to build entomological reserves with the preservation of peatlands in their natural state, which primarily concerns raised bogs.

In case of drying up of bogs and adjacent forests, it is necessary to take measures to restore the hydrological regime. These include the blocking of reclamation canals intended for the outflow of water from swamps. Clear felling of forests is allowed without damaging the ground cover.

The species is protected on the territory of the Nechkinsky National Park and the Andreevsky Sosnovy Bor natural botanical reserve. No additional measures are required on the territory of protected areas. A set of standard measures focused on maintaining biodiversity is enough.

The jaundice butterfly brings great benefits, contributing to the pollination and self-pollination of many plants. All natural resources eventually run out, and moths are no exception. Scientists have made many efforts to explore and protect the habitat of winged flowers, to preserve and increase their numbers.

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