Powdered Brimstone

Gonepteryx farinosa (Zeller, 1847)



A medium-large plain pale-yellow butterfly. The males and females are similar, almost white in flight. In the centre of each wing there is a small brown spot, along with its wings shape makes it quite distinctive. However, it can be easily confused with other females of the same genius. The key diagnostic features are that the costa of the forewing (leading edge) is straight and not slightly concave as in G. rhamni. There is no pale orange streak on the forewing underside. The lower-half of the hind wing has prominent cusps, which are not obvious in other species of the genius.

Habitat Requirements

Unclear at this time but indications are that its distribution may be restricted to that of its host plant.

Larval Foodplants

Crown of Thorns/Christ's Thorn Paliurus spina-christi, Rhamnus alaternus, Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica - not on Corfu, Rhamnus lycioides ssp. graeca. However, it is possible that the obligate factor in the presence of the Powdered Brimstone is the existence of - Rhamnus lycioides (syn Rhamnus pallasii), which is itself a distinctive plant.


Dan Danahar suspected the occurance of Gonepteryx farinosa on Corfu after taking a  photograph of a likely candiate in Kyprinades on 08/04/2015. He shared this information with a group of butterfly enthusiasts who visited Corfu in April 2019. During their visit Harry E Clarke was able to take another unconfirmed photograph of an insect that he thought might be this species. Careful examination of this species' hindwing morphology will aid identification. In August of 2023 Dan Danahar decided to take this species off the confirmed list for Corfu, until a definate determination can be made for this species on the island.


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Powdered Brimstone
  • Family: Pieridae (Swainson, 1820)
  • Sub-family: Coliadinae (Swainson, 1827)
  • Tribe: Rhodocerini (Duponchell, [1835])
  • Genus: Gonepteryx (Leach, 1815)
  • Species: farinosa (Zeller, 1847)


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