In a past post, White Butterflies Hiding in a Hay Field, I wasn’t able to actually get a photo of the White Butterflies. They never came to rest long enough, or if they did stop, it was on the low growing flowers that I couldn’t see! Later, the butterflies were feeding on some flowers that were easily visible, so I finally got to capture their image. They are very skittish butterflies, however, and I had to stand well back and use a zoom lens.
They are Cabbage White Butterflies. They are described as being white butterflies with dark dots on their upper wings. Their underwings can be various shades of yellow.
This cabbage white is showing its age. Note how weathered and ragged the wings are getting!
The Cabbage butterfly was introduced to Quebec, Canada, from Europe in the 1860’s and has since spread throughout the continent.
While they are a delight to watch, especially if there are a lot of them fluttering through your yard, their caterpillars are the bane of gardeners – they eat members of the mustard family and this includes cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprout and cauliflower.
The Flutter Files
Common Name: Small Cabbage White Butterfly
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
Native to: It was originally only in Europe. It was accidentally introduced into China (in 1989), North America (in 1860), Australia (in 1937) and New Zealand (in 1930)
Date Seen: September 2011, August and September, 2017
Location: North East of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: These butterflies have a dark body with white wings. The upper wings have a charcoal to black band at the tip and a dark spot in the center of each upper wing. Males have one spot on each wing and females have two. Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.
4 thoughts on “Cabbage White Butterfly”
I never realized that those white butterflies were indeed butterflies: I always thought they were moths! ‘Glad to know that they are one of the “good guys!”
Yes, as butterflies they are good! As caterpillars, not so good if you are a gardener!
When I was young there used to be swarms of these charming little beasties, everywhere. Nowadays, I may see one or two, but that’s about it. And, of course, I used to be able to find caterpillars everywhere I looked. Not so much, now. I guess the pesticides have got to them… much to the delight of the gardeners, no doubt, but not so much to mine.
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Thanks for bringing my attention to this one. I moved my posts to a this new site (Amusives), but have not fixed all the links yet. It takes time to check over 900 posts, but I’ll get it all done eventually!
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