Cabbage White Butterfly
Taxonomic Hierarchy Photo
Kingdom: Animalia -- animal
Phylum: Arthropoda -- arthropods
      Subphylum: Hexapoda -- hexapods
Class: hexapoda -- insects

      Subclass:

Pterygota -- iwinged insects
           Infraclass: Neoptera -- modern, wing-folding insects
Order: Lepidoptera -- butterflies, moths
Superfamily: Papilionoidea -- butterflies
      Family: Pieridae -- Whites and Yellows
           Subfamily: Pierinae -- Whites
Genus: Pieris
Species: Pieris rapae
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United States Range Map

 

California Range Map

Adult Sexes Similar

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Identification:   Life history:
Upperside of wings white; forewing with black tip. Two submarginal black spots in female, one in male. Underside of hindwing and forewing apex evenly yellow-green or gray-green. Spring and fall short-day form is smaller, less yellow, with reduced black areas.   Males patrol for females. Females lay single eggs on undersides of host leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight:   Wing Span:
Two to three in northern part of range; 7-8 in the south. It is usually the first butterfly to emerge in spring.   1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.8 cm).
 

Caterpillar Hosts:

  Adult Food:
Many plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family and occasionally some in the caper family (Capparidaceae).   Flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.
Habitat:   Season:
Almost any type of open space including weedy areas, gardens, roadsides, cities, and suburbs.   Adults fly from early spring to September (1); mid-April to mid-October in southern Ontario; shorter season farther north, and longer season farther south
Remarks:   Conservation:
Introduced accidentally near Montreal in the 1860s, this species has become an important pest. Bacterial and viral diseases now provide some biological control.   Conservation: Not required.

NatureServe Global Status: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: Ensure control steps do not affect other invertebrate fauna.

Sources used to Construct this Page:  
            
 

Additional Photos

Adult Sexes Similar

       
 

All photos 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.

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Global ranks indicate the rarity of a species at a global scale. Species may be fairly common globally but imperiled locally. Global ranks have the following meaning:

  • G1 - Critically Imperiled - At very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer populations), very steep declines, or other factors.
  • G2 - Imperiled - At high risk of extinction due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors.
  • G3 - Vulnerable - At moderate risk of extinction due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors.
  • G4 - Apparently Secure - Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.
  • G5 - Secure - Common; widespread and abundant.
  • * ? or Q = status unknown or uncertain