Monday, March 21, 2011

BOTM: Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae)


These really don't need an introduction do they? I mean everyone has seen them yes (whether or not they know the name of them or not) so I guess it's time to educate people then! I'll be learning right along with you as I've learned somethings I didn't know already.

Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae) are the first butterflies I see here every Spring. Before the Sulphers, Admirals, Eastern Tailed Blues, Monarchs, & Silver Spotted Skippers, these are the butterflies that more or less say "Hello again we've missed you" first. :P

I really would like to know about their biology though. Like what's unique about them in their mating/courtship rituals. Do they have any even? What I have noticed in my observations over the years is that when they really start coming out (I've seen three so far) if 2 butterflies "bump" into each other they'll start spiraling in circles around each other flying upwards.

It's simply gorgeous to watch. ♥ I remember researching that some years ago and learning that that's when 2 males are "fighting" for their territory. One invades the others space and the other is like "get out" and then the "fighting" ensues.

I'll have to re-look that up again and get back to you but for now:

The Small White (Pieris rapae) is a small- to medium-sized butterfly species of the Yellows-and-Whites family Pieridae. It is also commonly known as the Small Cabbage White and in New Zealand simply as white butterfly. The names "Cabbage Butterfly" and "Cabbage White" can also refer to the Large White.

It is widespread 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.


Like its close relative the Large White this is a strong flier and the British population is increased by continental immigrants in most years. Adults are diurnal and fly almost exclusively during mid-day, though it appears as if there is some activity in the later part of the night too, ceasing as dawn breaks.

^ OMG at the last. I had no idea they were somewhat active at night either! But since these came from Wikipedia I'll be doing extra research on that later.

Also as you now know they go by a plethora of other names. Carolina Science lists them as Brassica butterflies due to them feeding and sometimes being a pest of plants in the Brassicaceae family (Cabbages, etc.) which makes sense but I've never seen them listed elsewhere with that name so I find it strange.

I will look into that as well. *^^* Aaahh research again! Feels good. But for now I advice you to do extra research!! Feel free to correct anything here or provide additional info!

Until next time! Must go work on more entries. Rest of info: here.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I love your blog. I've always seen these butterflies around, but I didn't know anyhting about them, so thanx for the info :)

I looked them up and i also found out this about them ...
Cabbage White caterpillars are green, which affords them very good camouflage. Unlike their larger cousin the Large Cabbage White, (Pieris brassicae), Small Cabbage White caterpillars are tasty to predators, so they keep to the undersides of the leaves in order to avoid being spotted.
I found this info on this site:
http://www.northrup.org/photos/cabbage-white/
hope you find it interesting :)
kara xxx

Brittanie said...

Oh wow! Thank you! I never knew that about them! Must go add it! Thank you!

And your welcome! *^^*

Anonymous said...

No problem :) xx

Mizz Bee said...

Hello: It is unfortunate that these introduced species is not only a pest of cabbage and related plants but it is a threat to some of the native butterflies such as the West Virginia white. http://pollinatingbee.blogspot.com/2009/10/alien-invasions-our-native-butterflies.html
I hope that some day we gain consciousness about the perils of introduced species and become more careful.

Brittanie said...

Mizz Bee: It's incredibly saddening. This is Harmonia axyridis all over again. -_-

Would also explain why I haven't seen a whole lot of Cloudless Sulphers around here like I do the whites. It's too bad there's no way that I know of that they could monitor and possibly control introduced species.

My take is not to take a chance and introduce anything. Find another way to solve the problem.