It is common across Europe, North Africa and Asia and has also been accidentally introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand where they have become pests on cultivated cabbages and other mustard family crops.
It looks like a smaller version of the Large White. The upperside is creamy white with black tips to the forewings. Females also have two black spots in the center of the forewings. Its underwings are yellowish with black
Like its close relative the Large White this is a strong flyer and the British population is increased by continental immigrants in most years. Like other "White" butterflies it hibernates as a pupa. Along with the Large White it is sometimes known as the Cabbage White or Cabbage Butterfly.
It has two flight periods, April–May and July–August.
Its caterpillars can be a pest on cultivated cabbages, but it will lay eggs as well on wild members of the cabbage family such as Charlock Sinapis arvensis and Hedge Mustard Sisybrium officinale. The eggs are laid singularly on foodplant leaves.
Known in the United States as "Imported Cabbage Worms", the caterpillars are green and well camouflaged. Unlike the Large White they do not store the mustard oils from their foodplants and so are not distastful to predators like birds.
- Jim Asher et al. The Millennium Atlas of Britain and Ireland Oxford University Press
- Evans, W.H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed.), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
- Gaonkar, Harish (1996) "Butterflies of the Western Ghats, India (Including Sri Lanka) - A Biodiversity Assessment of a Threatened Mountain System." Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
- Gay, Thomas; Kehimkar, Isaac & Punetha, J.C. (1992) Common Butterflies of India. WWF-India and Oxford University Press, Mumbai, India.
- Kunte, Krushnamegh (2005) Butterflies of Peninsular India. Universities Press.
- Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957) Butterflies of the Indian Region, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pieris rapae|