Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Cabbage White Butterfly - (Pieris rapae)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/12/2013

The European Cabbage White Butterfly has become a charming, yet ubiquitous pest.

Picture of Cabbage White Butterfly

The white wings of this species have charcoal gray tips. Males have 1 black spot on the center of each forewing, while females have 2 spots in the same place. The color under the forewings may be yellow or light green and is visible if the wings are closed.

The green caterpillar eats cabbage, nasturtiums and other plants related to mustard. It is covered with hairs and has 5 yellow lines running down its length.

The abundant Cabbage White Butterfly can bee seen fluttering around from early spring to late autumn. They are well-adapted to living in urban areas. They can be found in fields, meadows, parks and gardens. Because the caterpillar is fond of eating the leaves of cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, they are considered a garden pest and require pesticides to control the populations.

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Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: Cabbage White Butterfly
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Other Names: Small White; European Cabbage White

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Pieridae
       Genus: Pieris
        Species: rapae

Adult Size (Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.18in to 1.97in)

Identifying Colors: white; black; gray; yellow

Additional Descriptors: dot

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.