Tag Archives: Helice

Helice Clouded Yellow at Alners Gorse

Clouded Yellow. Photo: James Phillips

Although 2020 cannot really be described as a Clouded Yellow year (not like those amazing influxes we have witnessed in some previous years), we have had so many reports of Clouded Yellows sent into the Dorset branch website recently that reported sightings of the species were more numerous in mid October than for any other species. The total sightings for October put it second highest, only behind the Red Admiral. It is still not clear whether these are butterflies that developed in the UK this year or whether they are fresh migrants from the continent.

Just occasionally the white form of the female Clouded Yellow appears (known as the ‘helice’ variety). Martin Warren did a late walk on our Alners Gorse reserve on October 1st and managed to record a helice female there: not a common record for the site. James Phillips recorded a mating pair in Church Ope Cove on Portland on 16 October: the standard male and the very pale helice, and was able to take a stunning photo (above) of the moment.

view of |a helice form of Clouded Yellow nectaring on a purple flower showing a little of upperside fore-wing and underside hind-wing

Clouded Yellow  Form helice. Photo: Andrew Martin

Andrew photographed this Clouded Yellow, helice form, at Southbourne Undercliff on 28/09/17 and says:

Hurray, just had my first UK Clouded Yellow form helice for 2017!

The form helice only occurs in the female of the Clouded Yellow  and is similar to the much rarer immigrant, the Pale Clouded Yellow.