Colias hyale

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Pale Clouded Yellow
Colias hyale2009transilvania.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pieridae
Genus: Colias
Species: Colias hyale
Binomial name
Colias hyale
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias hyale) is a small butterfly of the Family Pieridae, that is, the Yellows and Whites, which is found in most of Europe and large parts of Asia. It is a migrant to the British Isles and Scandinavia.

Illustration from John Curtis's British Entomology Volume 5


The upperside of the male is more or less light lemon-yellow, with the black marginal and submarginal bands more or less complete on both wings; the black middle spot of the forewing large, in centre of hindwing an orange-yellow double spot; base of wings more or less dusted with black. The underside is bright yellow, being somewhat lighter on the forewing, with small marginal and larger submarginal red-brown spots; the middle spot of the forewing black with pale centre, the hindwing bearing a double spot which is mother-of-pearl colour, encircled by a double ring of red-brown; fringes above and beneath, as well as head and antenna red-brown. In the female the ground-colour of the upperside and the proximal area of the underside of the forewing is white, being slightly yellowish.

The egg is bottle-shaped, whitish, with yellowish brown stripes. The larva is bluish green or grass-green, velvety, there being on the back two rows of blackish dots which are traversed by two thin yellow longitudinal lines, above the legs a yellow or reddish longitudinal side-line, head dark green; the autumnal larvae without black dorsal spots.Pupa green, with yellow lateral lines.


The larva feeds on Vicia cracca, Fabaceae, Vicia, Coronilla, Medicago, Lotus, Cytisus, Trifolium


Flower meadows up to 2,000 metres a.s.l.


  • Colias hyale hyale Europe, Ukraine S. Russia
  • Colias hyale alta Staudinger, 1886 a large form with a broad black marginal band provisionally accepted as a full species that flies only at high altitudes in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan "but it may only be a subspecies of C. hyale".

by Grieshuber & Lamas, 2007 [1]

  • Colias hyale altaica Verity, 1911 Altaï
  • Colias hyale irkutskana Stauder, 1924
  • Colias hyale palidis Fruhstorfer, 1910 East Siberia
  • Colias hyale novasinensis Reissinger, 1989 Gansu


  • Evans, W.H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Edn), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India
  • Gaonkar, Harish (1996) Butterflies of the Western Ghats, India (including Sri Lanka) - A Biodiversity Assessment of a threatened mountain system. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
  • Gay,Thomas; Kehimkar,Isaac & Punetha,J.C.(1992) Common Butterflies of India. WWF-India and Oxford University Press, Mumbai, India.
  • Kunte,Krushnamegh (2005) Butterflies of Peninsular India. Universities Press.
  • Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957) Butterflies of the Indian Region, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
  • Referenced in the TV show Criminal Minds, Season 1, Episode 22, "The Fisher King - Part I".

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