Bring on the Brimstone!
Yesterday I spotted my first butterfly of the year! A delicately fluttering male Brimstone, whose yellow wings shone in the sun. It is commonly believed that the word “butterfly” is derived from “butter-coloured fly” which is attributed to the yellow of the male Brimstone. The female’s wings are a much paler whitish-green.
These butterflies are masters of disguise; at rest they appear to cease being a butterfly and become a leaf. The wings are perfectly shaped to resemble a leaf, and the colouration is not bad either! Perfect for hiding from predators whilst roosting or hibernating in vegetation.
Brimstones hibernate as adults, unlike most other butterfly species which hibernate in larvae or pupae form. Males are the first to be seen in the spring and can be observed feeding and patrolling looking for a mate. When a male finds a female, both fly high into the air, often out of sight, before tumbling back down into a bush where they then mate. Keep you eyes open for this spectacle as spring unfolds!