Brimstone on a pink flower (c) Julia Martin


Brimstones are common bright yellow butterflies and are often cited as the first butterflies of the year because adults hibernate over winter in woodlands and emerge on warm spring days. However, new adults emerge from their chrysalis in July and live for a year. Males have sulphur-yellow fore and hindwings with an orange central spot, the females’ wings are a more delicate yellow or pale green. Despite their opened-wing brilliant colour they are masters of disguise when closed as their under-wing colour and shape provide camouflage for resting and hibernating adults. They can be easily seen in flight in meadows, sipping nectar from teasel, knapweed and buddleia.

How to identify common garden butterflies.

Scientific name: Gonepteryx rhamni

Rank: Species

Common names:

Common brimstone

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The Brimstone can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Brimstone distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web