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.