Colias crocea, Crete - photo © Ch. Almpantakis

Colias crocea, Crete - photo © Ch. Almpantakis

Colias crocea


Colias crocea is a butterfly of the family Pieridae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific  name

Colias crocea (Geoffroy, 1785)

Common name

Clouded Yellow


Family: Pieridae > Subfamily: Coliadinae > Genus: Colias


Male to female: 45-50 mm


The Clouded Yellow has a characteristic intense yellow coloring, that is easily identifiable. The upper side of the wings is yellow to orange-yellow with a broad black margin on all the wings and a black spot at the end of the cell. The underside of the wings lacks the black borders and is lighter, with a more greenish tint, and has a white center spot, often with a smaller white or dark dot just above it.

Males and females are similar; the female has several yellow spots in the black margin, that there are not present in the male.


When feeding, the butterfly remains extremely alert and rarely settles for more than 3-4 seconds at a time. Both sexes fly very rapidly and purposefully, migrating in search of breeding sites, stopping for a day or two to refuel at nectar-rich hillsides. The butterfly never opens the wings when resting.


Colias crocea in Crete lives in the open land of all kinds, i.e. warm slopes, rocky places, seaside, cultivated areas, riverbanks, lakes.

Food plant

The larva lives on Fabaceae (Leguminosae) plants.

Flight Period

The butterfly flies in 2-3 generations per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The butterfly has a unique appearance in Crete and can’t be confused with other butterflies of the island.

In a small proportion of females, the golden upperside coloration of the wings is replaced by a pale cream color. These females have been distinguished as form “helice" (Colias crocea f. helice) and occur in Crete.

Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Colias Crocea Distribution Map

*based on

Colias crocea location map based on greek butterflies distributions maps by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)