Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Male. Taken at Pewsey Down NNR, Wilts, on August 21st 2011.
(1/160th sec at f11. Approx 2x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female. Taken at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on July 22nd 2011.
(1/1000th sec at f11. Approx 2x lifesize. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 60 - 74 mm

One of the first butterflies to be seen in the spring, the Brimstone is also one of the longest-lived in its adult form, with some individuals living for 10 or 11 months.

It is mainly found in England. In Ireland it is only common in the Burren.

It can be found anywhere that the larval foodplant grows, which is usually damp woodland.

The main flight periods are March to June, then a second generation flies from late July to October or November, before entering hibernation.

The primary larval foodplants are Purging Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus) and Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus).

Favourite nectar sources are Thistles, Knapweeds, Scabious and Teasels.

Male Brimstones can be found well away from breeding sites, often being seen on road verges and hedgerows.

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.


23-Mar-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3m)
27-Feb-2019 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
25-Feb-2019 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (5m)
24-Feb-2019 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Feb-2019 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4+m)
23-Feb-2019 : Standlake Common, Oxon (4m)

10-Oct-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
02-Aug-2018 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1m)
31-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
19-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
15-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
14-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2m,1f)
14-Jul-2018 : Watlington Hill, Oxon (4m)
12-Jul-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
12-Jul-2018 : Cothill Fen, Oxon (2m)
10-Jul-2018 : Fence Wood, Berks (6)
09-Jul-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
07-Jul-2018 : Besselsleigh Wood, Oxon (1m)
04-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (4m,2f)
03-Jul-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
01-Jul-2018 : Fence Wood, Berks (1m)
11-Jun-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
06-Jun-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1f)
03-Jun-2018 : Stockbridge Down, Hants (12+m,5+f)
03-Jun-2018 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (1f)
02-Jun-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2m)
02-Jun-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1m)
27-May-2018 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (2m)
26-May-2018 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1m)
26-May-2018 : The Holies, Berks (1m)
22-May-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (6m,1f)
18-May-2018 : Radley Lakes, Oxon (1m)
18-May-2018 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
17-May-2018 : Sandford Brake, Oxon (5m,1f)
15-May-2018 : Lardon Chase, Berks (2f)
15-May-2018 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (2m,1f)
14-May-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (3m,3f)
13-May-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m,1f)
07-May-2018 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (8m,13f)
06-May-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
22-Apr-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (6m,5f)
21-Apr-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (6m,5f)
19-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
19-Apr-2018 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (10+m,15+f)
19-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2m)
18-Apr-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2m,1f)
18-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
18-Apr-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m,1f)
14-Apr-2018 : Northcourt Road, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
07-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
05-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
05-Apr-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3+)
26-Mar-2018 : Horton-cum-Studley, Oxon (3)
21-Mar-2018 : Abingdon (NE), Oxon (1m)

27-Aug-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (2m)
26-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (2m)
17-Aug-2017 : Lardon Chase, Berks (3m,2f)
11-Aug-2017 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (2m,1f)
06-Aug-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (5)
03-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
23-Jul-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (3m,1f)
18-Jul-2017 : Greenham Common, Berks (1f)
18-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (5m,10f)
09-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
08-Jul-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2)
17-Jun-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1f)
15-Jun-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1m)
14-Jun-2017 : Whelford Pools, Glos (1f)
14-Jun-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1f)
11-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
08-Jun-2017 : Paklenica National Park, Croatia
07-Jun-2017 : Gracac, Croatia
05-Jun-2017 : Goranje Taboriste, Croatia
03-Jun-2017 : Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
30-May-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
14-May-2017 : Whelford Pools, Glos (6m,3f)
07-May-2017 : Lardon Chase, Berks (6m,4f)
07-May-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (14+m,6+f)
02-May-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4m,2f)
22-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
09-Apr-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (8m,6f)
08-Apr-2017 : Northcourt Road, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
06-Apr-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (5m)
02-Apr-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
30-Mar-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1m)
26-Mar-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
25-Mar-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (3m)
13-Mar-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (6+m)
13-Mar-2017 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1m)
09-Mar-2017 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
09-Mar-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)

21-Aug-2016 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (1f)
07-Aug-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1f)
06-Aug-2016 : Fence Wood, Berks (3m,4f)
31-Jul-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m,1f)
30-Jul-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (21m,4f)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (1m)
14-Jul-2016 : Lardon Chase, Berks (2m)
28-Jun-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
09-Jun-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1f)
05-Jun-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
28-May-2016 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (3m)
24-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
22-May-2016 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (3m,1f)
22-May-2016 : Lardon Chase, Berks (3f)
19-May-2016 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1f)
15-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2m,1f)
08-May-2016 : Rodborough Common, Glos (1m)
08-May-2016 : Whelford Pools, Glos (6m)
07-May-2016 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (10+m,4f)
05-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (10m,6f)
05-May-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
03-May-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1f)
30-Apr-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1m)
20-Apr-2016 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1f)
20-Apr-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3m)
19-Apr-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
10-Apr-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1m)
05-Apr-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3+m)
03-Apr-2016 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
31-Mar-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3m)
25-Mar-2016 : Beckley, Oxon (1)
25-Mar-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

06-Sep-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1m)
29-Aug-2015 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1m,1f)
22-Aug-2015 : Yeosden Bank, Bucks (1m,2f)
22-Aug-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (13m,3f)
16-Aug-2015 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1m)
09-Aug-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
09-Aug-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2m)
08-Aug-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
08-Aug-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3m)
02-Aug-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (4)
30-Jul-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1m)
23-Jul-2015 : Papaz Tchair, Bulgaria
18-Jul-2015 : Silchester Common, Hants (2m)
11-Jul-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
11-Jun-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1f)
07-Jun-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (15m,3f)
06-Jun-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4m,1f)
04-Jun-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1m,1f)
30-May-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (5m)
23-May-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
23-May-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1m)
21-May-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (2m)
17-May-2015 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (1m)
17-May-2015 : Stockbridge Down, Hants (10+m,1f)
16-May-2015 : Pitstone, Bucks (4m)
16-May-2015 : Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (4m,1f)
10-May-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2m,1f)
04-May-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (15+m,3f)
04-May-2015 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (1m,1f)
30-Apr-2015 : Arne, Dorset (3m)
27-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2f)
25-Apr-2015 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (3m,2f)
23-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3m,2f)
21-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (6m,7f)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (9m)
15-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)
14-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (14+)
09-Apr-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1m)
09-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (3m)
08-Apr-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
08-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3)
06-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (3)
10-Mar-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
07-Mar-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (4+)