Anthocharis cardamines is a butterfly species, belonging to the big taxon Pieridae. Members of this group with about 1100 species worldwide are typically characterized by a more or less white color. There is even evidence that the popular term „butterfly“ refers to a pierid species, namely the brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni, which British researchers considered as looking like a butter-colored fly.
The video introduces some morphological characters of a male specimen of Anthocharis cardamines. In this gender the most conspicuous character concerns the orange colored tip on the insides of both wings. That color character represents a sexual dimorphism, as female wings are completely white.
The quite common butterfly is distributed in Europe and temparate Asian zones. Interestingly adult A. cardamines strictly prefer specific habitats, which differ in males and females. While males inhabit the edge areas of forests close to adjacent meadows, females prefer the open meadows. Both genders fly only in a bright sunlight and strictly avoid the shadow, even then, when a suitable host plant for the egg deposition grows in a shady environment. Females select their mating partners using pheromones, which either attract or reject a male. Mated females in order of their egg deposition will always reject male approaches.
Other female pheromones are used as markers to characterize a host plant as already containing eggs. This will prevent a new egg deposition by another female specimen, which happens to improve a positive breeding success, as caterpillars show a cannibalistic behavior against other eggs. Host specificy, mating behaviors and reproductiion are result of evolution.
Berlin May/November 2018. Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth