Mountain Clouded Yellow (Colias phicomone)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

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 8438_female_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul07 13416_female_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul08

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.

 

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
30598 M a male, taking a break during a spell of overcast weather. 2020
7294 M

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.

2100
13145 M

a male, rather worn.

2380
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
23037 F

a female, without too much confidence, based on the roundness of the hindwing.

2200
31208 F a female, particularly pale and with a large unf discoidal spot. 2180
8438 F

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.

2200
13416 F

a quick snap of a female engaged in courtship. The male was moving too fast for the camera!

2200

 

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

 

8438_female_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul07

 

13416_female_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul08