Pieridae

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Pieridae
Lepidoptera 2005 spring 001.jpg
The small white or cabbage white (Pieris rapae)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Suborder:
Superfamily:
Family:
Pieridae
Subfamilies

Dismorphiinae
Pseudopontiinae
Pierinae
Coliadinae

Diversity
76 genera
1,051 species
Sleepy oranges (Eurema nicippe) puddling

The Pieridae are a large family of butterflies. It has about 76 genera and 1,100 species. They are mostly from tropical Africa and Asia.[1] Most pierid butterflies are white, yellow or orange with black spots. The pigments are a characteristic of this family.[2]

The name "butterfly" may have come from a member of this family, the Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni. It was called the "butter-coloured fly" by early British naturalists.[2]

The caterpillars of some species, such as Pieris brassicae and Pieris rapae, are often seen in gardens. They are agricultural pests because they feed on brassicas.

Males of many species feed on salts from moist soil. They do this in groups. This behavior is known as 'mud-puddling' or 'puddling'.[1]

Classification[change | change source]

The Pieridae have the radial vein on the forewing with 3 or 4 branches (rarely 5) . The fore legs are well developed in both sexes. The tarsal claws are bifid (bifid means split into two parts).[3]

Like the Papilionidae, Pieridae also have their chrysalids held at an angle by a silk girdle. The girdle runs around the first abdominal segment unlike the thoracic girdle seen in the Papilionidae.

Subfamilies[change | change source]

The Pieridae are divided into the following four subfamilies:

Psyche butterfly, Leptosia nina

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 DeVries P.J. in Levin S.A. (ed) 2001. The Encyclopaedia of Biodiversity. Academic Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Carter, David, Butterflies and Moths (2000)
  3. Borror D.J., Triplehorn C.A., & Johnson N.F. 1989. An introduction to the study of insects, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders College Publishers. ISBN 0030253977

Other websites[change | change source]