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Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cabbage White Butterfly.

 Updated: 2/13/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The European Cabbage White Butterfly is a charming visitor that leaves behind a notorious plant pest.



When spread flat, it is easy to see the charcoal gray coloring at the upper corners on the white, pale wings of the Cabbage White. 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 raised. A frequent visitor to vegetable patches, the Cabbage White adds whimsy to a garden scene. The unfortunate consequence of this may mean a caterpillar problem a few weeks later.

The green larva of the Cabbage White eats cabbage, nasturtiums and other plants related to mustard. It is covered with hairs and has 5 yellow lines running down its length. Because the caterpillar has a voracious appetite and usually has siblings nearby, the leaves of cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can be chewed through in a matter days. Because of their destructive dietary needs, they are considered a garden pest and require population control in order to save harvests. The use of row covers when adults are seen in the area can reduce egg laying on host plants. This practice can help lessen chemical use on produce and reduce labor in the garden.

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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pieridae
          Genus: Pieris
            Species: rapae
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Other Name(s): Small White; European Cabbage White
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.17in to 1.95in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; black; gray; yellow
Descriptors: dot
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of Delware graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.