Colias croceus | Clouded Yellow | Buíóg chróch

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Lower Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to a moderate extent (Settele et al., 2008).

Legal status

The Clouded Yellow is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status

Common Migrant

Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Medium size, wingspan: 52-62 mm
  • Distinct yellow-orange colouring
  • Prominent white spot with brown 'halo' on the underside of the hind wing


Generalist on unimproved dry calcareous grassland, improved grassland, and coastal grey dunes. Adults fly actively over flowery meadows, and rest on flowerheads of low herbs in dull weather (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

The first migrants of this species can be seen between early April and late June. The adults, at least some of which are offspring of spring arrivals, may be seen from August to about mid-October.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid on low-growing plants of the herb layer. Typically, this species is unable to overwinter, as the larva is killed by frost or prolonged damp (Bond & Gittings, 2008), but in exceptionally mild winters it can overwinter if conditions allow (Walsh & Walsh, 2014).

Food plants

The larva primarily feed on Clovers (Trifolium spp.) and Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) may also be used.

Flowers visited

Generalist,  adults feed on Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Vetches (Vicia spp.).


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Walsh, F. and Walsh, M. 2014. The Clouded Yellow butterfly Colias croceus (Fourcroy) overwintering at the Raven, Co. Wexford. Irish Naturalists' Journal 33(2): 89-92.