The population biology of the Orange Tip butterfly Anthocharis cardamines in Britain


Dr S. P. Courtney, Department of Zoology, P.O. Box 147, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX.



  • 1The population biology of Anthocharis cardamines (L.) is described and shown to vary with locality. Southern and Western populations emerge earlier than Northern ones, but Western and Northern populations occupy similar, wetter habitats and are associated primarily with Cardamine pratensis (L.). Southern populations are recorded mostly from Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.).
  • 2Studies on egg and larval survival indicate that host plant-induced death and parasitization by a tachinid are important mortality factors. However, a key-factor analysis on one population indicates that the major determinant of population size may be the number of eggs laid by ovipositing females, itself dependent upon weather during the oviposition period. Populations in different localities do show similar trends in abundance, corroborating the effect of weather.
  • 3Human effects on distribution and abundance are discussed, and some conservation strategies suggested.