Eastern Wood White (Leptidea duponcheli)

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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.


40438_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_11May16 37175_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_11May15   
Duponcheli is a close cousin of the widespread and common Wood White (Leptidea sinapis). It is essentially a species of Greece and surrounding areas but it has a separate distribution in the south-east corner of France, with the main populations being found in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It is found in Var in a few places, although it seems to be quite mobile and there is no real probability of visiting a location and expecting to see it. Having searched Var in locations where it had been observed previously, without success, it can only be concluded that this an uncommon and elusive species.

In late May of 2014 I visited the remote regions around Digne-les-Bains which looked suitable habitat according to Google Earth and was fortunate to find two individuals which were clearly at the end of the flight period, as evidenced by the degree or wear, but clearly duponcheli. I revisited the same location in 2015, in mid-May and there were numerous individuals, but on a hot day, they flew almost non-stop, affording only shots when they were nectaring. I had more luck at the same site (persistence pays off) in 2016 when the weather was more overcast allowing the opportunity of a shot of 40438 at rest.

The principal differences between duponcheli and sinapis are expounded on the sinapis page, mainly to illustrate that a number of sinapis can be superficially similar to duponcheli, yet there are reasons why they are not.

Duponcheli is a species that, when you see it, leaves no room for doubt, especially the first brood which has the characteristic solid unh markings which are green when fresh but appear rather more greyish after wear. The second brood has a largely unmarked unh which is rather yellow, when it is very similar to sinapis, and the only really secure way to identify the males is by the inside of the antenna club.




alt. m



a male, I suspect on the basis of the shape of the apical mark, wing shape and behaviour. It was perhaps surprising that at the end of the flight period, only males were seen.


40438 M a male, rather fresher than 35059. It was seen at the same location as the other two on this page, the only location where I have seen duponcheli for sure, and I was fortunate that it settled in an overcast spell, albeit in dark conditions that made photography a challenge. 670
37175 F a rather fresher female, clearly displaying the solid green colour and leaving no room for confusion with sinapis. A deformity of the tip of the forewing is visible. 670