The Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae rapae) is a small insect in the Pieridae family of white and yellow butterflies. It is also known as the Small Cabbage White.
The Small White Butterfly has a white upperside—the male is creamy-white and the female is brighter white. Both the male and the female have two black spots in the middle of its forewings (front wings). Its underside is yellowish with black speckles.
It grows to about 3-5 centimetres (1-2 inches) across its wings.
The Small White Butterfly is native to, and widespread across, Europe. It is generally seen from April to August. The main species (Pieris rapae) is common in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
It prefers open areas with lots of plants.
It is diurnal, active during the day. It can travel for many kilometres—up to 12 kilometres (7-8 miles) in one flight.
The female lays eggs on plants in the cabbage family. She lays them singly on the leaf of the plant. A caterpillar (larvae) emerges from the egg after about 7 days and begins eating the leaves of the plant. It pupates into a chrysalis, and undergoes metamorphosis until the adult butterfly emerges.
The adult butterfly sips nectar from flowers. It prefers purple, blue, and yellow flowers. It has a proboscis—like a long nose—which it uses to suck up the nectar from flowers.
Its main predators are birds.
The Small White Butterfly lives for about 21 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM