Cabbage White Butterfly

The Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) is one of the most recognizable butterflies in the Pieridae family.

Females, like the one in the top picture, have two black spots on an otherwise white wing. Males have one black spot on the wing.

Their name is based on both color and diet. The caterpillars of the species feed on plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Cabbage is one plant in the family, and consequently the butterfly is naturally associated with gardens.

Their range, however, extends beyond residential areas to any non-residential area with a sufficient food source. Typically they are among the first of the spring butterflies.

Males patrol a territory, staying in almost constant motion, making patience the most important trait for photographing them. They do not often settle on flowers for any long period of time.

Cabbage whites are introduced species, native to Europe. Their presence in any one area means they compete with other native Pieridae species that feed on mustard plants.


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