Gonepteryx cleopatra (Linnaeus, 1767)



A medium-large plain pale-yellow or yellow butterfly. The males have a very distinctive large orange patch on the forewing  upperside, which makes it quite distinctive, even in flight. In the centre of each wing there is a small brown spot, along with its wings shape makes it quite distinctive. The pale-yellow of the female means it can be easily confused with the other species of the genius. The key diagnostic features are that the costa of the forewing (leading edge) is straight and not slightly concave, which separates it from G. rhamni. There is a pale orange streak on the forewing underside which is unique. The lower-half of the hind wing does not have prominent cusps which helps separate it from G. farinosa.

Habitat Requirements

A wide spread butterfly, found in most habitats on the island.

Larval Foodplants

Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica - not on Corfu.

Dan Danahar has found ovae and larvae on native Rhamnus spp. in Corfu.


One of the most conspicous butterflies in the spring on Corfu and its certainly the most common of the three Gonepteryx species know to exist there. The male's showy orange forewings make it a favourite photographic subject for the novice butterfly enthusiast.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Cleopatra submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 01/01/2023 02/09/2023 244 days
2022 02/01/2022 31/12/2022 363 days
2021 30/01/2021 31/12/2021 335 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 2716
2022 1323
2021 418
Grand Total 4461

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Cleopatra (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023 submitted online since 1st January 2023 to 22nd September 2023.

Flight Times for the Cleopatra (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month based on all data submitted online since 1st January 2019 to 22nd September 2023.


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Cleopatra
  • Family: Pieridae (Swainson, 1820)
  • Sub-family: Coliadinae (Swainson, 1827)
  • Tribe: Rhodocerini (Duponchell, [1835])
  • Genus: Gonepteryx (Leach, 1815)
  • Species: cleopatra (Linnaeus, 1767)


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.