Mountain Clouded Yellow (Colias phicomone)
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2022 photographs highlighted in blue. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
|13416_female_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul08||30598_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul12||7294_male_Alpes-Maritimes_24Jun07||13145_male_Valais, Switzerland_18Jul08|
|30395_female_Alpes-Maritimes_4Jul12||27047_female_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul11||23037_female_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10||31208_female_Valais, Switzerland_14Jul12|
This is as beautifully marked as its Colias cousins, perhaps more so. Only the male has any yellow on the upperside, the female being white with extensive black markings on both wings which are quite visible in flight (see 13416). It is an altitude species, not being found at less than 1800m (or exceptionally as low as 1500m), and usually higher.
Having seen quite a few phicomone, they do seem to be quite variable, particularly in terms of the amount of grey scales.
a quick snap of a female engaged in courtship. The male was moving too fast for the camera!
|30598||M||a male, taking a break during a spell of overcast weather.||2020|
I'm guessing that this is a male based on the yellowness of the unh and the "dirty" appearance of the unf. However, based on the illustrations in T&L, the hindwing shape and the fact that the unf marginal yellow band extends only down to about s3 suggests female, whereas the male yellow band extends down to about s1.
a male, rather worn.
|30395||F||a female, relatively cleanly marked.||2000|
|27047||F||a female, the unf discoidal spot being just an outline, something I have not seen on any other phicomone. The unf ground colour is a very pure white and the apical area a rather clean yellow. I am not clear whether one hindwing is smaller than the other or just not aligned, but it does seem smaller all round.||2020|
a female, without too much confidence, based on the roundness of the hindwing.
|31208||F||a female, particularly pale and with a large unf discoidal spot.||2180|
I'm guessing that this a female based on the rounded hindwing shape (how characteristic is this "bump" at around s4 as an indicator of female?), the rather paleness of the yellow, and the pattern on the unh which matches the T&L illustration more closely than the male.
|49837||F||a female, taking a break from egg-laying (49842 is the same individual), nectaring on some species of Scabiosa, probably canescens.||1960|
|49842||F||the same female as 49837, egg-laying, but on what? Very likely Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), the normal larval hostplant, but how can the female actually know what it is laying on, or does it not matter, as long as H. comosa is in the immediate vicinity?||1960|