Pieris rapae

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Pieris rapae mounted female (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pieris rapae Linnaeus - (small white butterfly)

The butterfly is native to Europe and Asia and has been accidentally introduced into North America in 1860. It is now widespread in temperate regions. The preferred host plants are cabbage and other Brassicaceae. They tunnel into the heads of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower making them unmarketable. Damage to other Brassica crops like rape/canola can be also substantial. In additions plants from other families may be also attacked.

The development from egg to adult lasts about a month under favorable conditions. There are up to 4 generations per year. The pupae of the last generation overwinter. The adults are good fliers, covering up to 12 km in one flight, and might form swarms. For control, chemical pesticides should be used with caution as they can also kill the many parasitoids and predators of this species. The use of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki can be recommended and will not affect the natural enemies.

The adult wings are mainly white with a wingspan of 4-6 cm. The forewings have black tips and 2 (females) or 1 (males) black spots in the apical half. The forewing markings are less prominent compared to those of the related Pieris brassicae. The hindwings are underneath creamy, yellowish to light green.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Kleiner Kohlweissling
• English: small white butterfly
cabbage butterfly
imported cabbageworm
• Español: pequeña mariposa de la col
gusano del repollo
• Français: piéride de la rave


The eggs are yellowish, conical and ribbed. Caterpillars are green with a thin dorsal and 2 lateral longitudinal yellow lines which can be interrupted. The pupae are greenish and tie themselves with a thread to leaves or stems.

Synonyms:
Artogeia rapae

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.