|More Butterfly Information
Types of Butterflies
With five species, the genus Pieris makes a splash across all of North American.
The Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae), one of the most recognizable whites, flys in and around residential gardens from spring through summer.
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 derives from both color and diet. The caterpillars feed on plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Cabbage, a mustard plant, naturally invites the species to gardens.
Cabbage whites extend their range 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.
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.
One of those competing Pieris, the Margined White (Pieris marginalis), inhabits western areas.
Depending on their specific location they fly from spring through summer.
Picture two shows a top view of the mostly white wings. The bottom picture shows a side view, with the darker streaked veins.
Like many white species, the caterpillars feed on plants in the mustard family.
© 2002-2011 Patricia A. Michaels