Madeiran Cleopatra Gonepteryx maderensis Felder, 1862

Superfamily: Papilionoidea Family: Pieridae Status: Endemic to Madeira

Madeiran Cleopatra Gonepteryx maderensis

Recommended tours to watch this butterfly

Full-day birdwatching
Laurel Forest Tour
Note: when booking any of these tours please state your interest in butterflies.


Also known as Madeira Brimstone it is a medium-large, bright, almost fluorescent yellow butterfly. Males fore-wings are orange with thin yellow borders while females are more uniformly pale yellow. Both sexes have a discoidal spot, orange on the upper parts but more brownish when seen from the underside.

Gonepteryx maderensis Caterpillars

Lemon green coloured larva with tiny black dots and with rows of hairs which sometimes support a droplet of a yellow secretion.

Host & Food Plants

Its larvae feed on the Madeira endemic species of Buckthorn Rhamnus glandulosa (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006).

Habitat & behaviour

The Laurel Forest, between 500 and 1500 meters of altitude, is the only habitat where this species can be observed flying above the canopy of the Laurel trees.

Distribution in the Atlantic Islands of Macaronesia:

Only occurs in Madeira (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006)


Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2008: Endemic to Madeira
Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006: Endemic to Madeira
Regional status according to Wakeham-Dawson et al., 2001: Uncommon, resident in the Laurel Forest
Status according to the European Red List of Butterflies, 2010: Endangered

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