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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
JPG -- species photo

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.8 cm).

Identification: 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.

Life history: Males patrol for females. Females lay single eggs on undersides of host leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: Two to three in northern part of range; 7-8 in the south. It is usually the first butterfly to emerge in spring.

Caterpillar hosts: Many plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family and occasionally some in the caper family (Capparidaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.

Habitat: Almost any type of open space including weedy areas, gardens, roadsides, cities, and suburbs.

Range: From central Canada south through the United States (except Florida Keys, southern Louisiana, and South Texas) to northwest Mexico.

Conservation: Not required.

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

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

References:


Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the  Great Plains. 

     Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.



Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern  butterflies. 

     Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co.,  Boston. 396 pages, 

     48 color plates.



Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin 

     Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:


Cech, R. 1993.  A Distributional Checklist of the Butterflies and Skippers of 

     the New York City Area (50-mile Radius) and Long Island.  New York City 

     Butterfly Club Special Publication.  27 pp.



Forbes, W.T.M.  1960.  Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States.  Part 

     IV: Agaristidae through Nymphalidae Including Butterflies.  Cornell Univ. 

     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Memoir 371.  188 pp.



Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 

     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 

     New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 



Klass, C. and Dirig, R.  1992.  Learning about Butterflies.  Cornell Cooperative 

     Extension Publication, 4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.  Ithaca, N.Y.  

     36 pp.



Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 

     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp.

     

Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.

     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.      



Shapiro, A.M.  1974.  Butterflies and Skippers of New York State.  Cornell Univ.

     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Search 4:1-60.   

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
distribution map
map legend

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