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Colias palaeno (Linnaeus, 1761)
Moreland Clouded Yellow, Hochmoor-Gelbling, Veengeeltje, Svavelgul höfjäril, Myrgulvinge, Mose Hosommerfugl, Suokeltaperhonen, Szlaczkoń torfowiec, Žltáčik čučoriedkový, Žluťásek borůvkový, Solitaire …
Wingspan: 40 – 50 mm.
Hiking in alpine regions above the treeline, you might have the chance to notice that strikingly colourful, fast flying butterfly.
Male butterflies show bright lemon yellow wings, females show white scales instead of yellow ones on the upperside of wings. Both sexes show strongly contrasting broad black borders on the uppersides of wings, green eyes, and crimson fringes on wings, crimson legs, and antennae.
One of my favourite butterflies for its beauty, Colias palaeno is rather hard to capture. It is a deliberate and quick flier, patrolling a large area in search of the opposite sex, and very wary. So you have to be quite lucky to be able to get within the optimal macro-shooting distance of less than 30cm.
With generally low air temperatures in altitudes above 2000m, the sudden shadow of a passing cloud is always offering such a chance. You just have to follow one of those quick fliers seeking immediate shelter somewhere in low vegetation.
Distribution: North America, Sachalin, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Siberia, Europe from 47° to 70° latitude, as far west as Vosges, and French Alpes. Wide spread in its northern range, but very local in the southern parts. Quuite common still in Scandinavia, the species is a relic of ice ages that hase become extinct in many parts of central Europe through the disappearance of its habitats.
Staying closely to their breeding grounds in morelands and humid locations where its caterpillar’s feeding plants Vaccinium uliginosum and Vaccinium myrtillus exist, the Moreland Clouded Yellow may still be seen locally from June to August. But those small isolated colonies in central European mountain regions are considered to be "severely endangered" (Red List for Austria and Germany).
Nisslalm, alpine meadows on northern slopes at 2100m above sealevel near the village of Gries im Sulztal.
Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, Stuttgart 1998.
C.Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe: http://www.lepidoptera.pl/
Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Hrsg.): Rote Liste gefährdeter Tiere Deutschlands. Münster 1998
Umweltbundesamt: Rote Liste gefährdeter Tiere in Österreich: http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/umweltschutz/naturschutz/artenschutz/rl_tiere/
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 18mm zoom (equivalent 110mm at full size SLR), F/4, 1/200 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 01.07.2007, 14:48.
Photoshop Elements. Slightly cropped, levels slightly adjusted, downsized to web, slightly resharpened.
Thank you for looking.
Have a very good sunny day.
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|The location of C. palaeno. Nisslalm, rocky alpine pastures at 2100m above sealevel on a natural platform at the shady and humid northern slopes of Sulztal valley, a remote and silent side valley of Oetztal valley. Pinus cembra is standing there at the forest line, with single trees going up to even 2400m. The peak to the left is Schrankogel, 3496m. The peak in the centre surrounded by glaciers is called Mutterberger Seespitze, 3350m. |
Rivulets of melting waters are forming small swampy grounds on that natural platform - housing Vaccinium uliginosum and Colias palaeno, among many other rare species ...
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 10mm zoom (equivalent 60mm at full size SLR), F/4, 1/800 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 11.07.2006, 11:59. Uncropped original, downsized to web.
Hope you enjoy.
|Altered Image #1|
|Colias palaeno, the female - same day, same location. The ladies seem to be less wary than the males. But even so, this lady was taken during approach from a larger distance, and after that it did not allow me to get any closer. Therefore this image has been substantially cropped - resulting in less resolution of details, but enough at least to see the difference in colour: scales of wings predominantely white instead of yellow.|
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 17mm zoom (equivalent 17mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/200 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 01.07.2007, 14:56.
Hope you enjoy.