Large White

Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Status

Description

A medium to large sized white butterfly, with black tips to the forewing upperside, and with yellow hindwing underside. The female is noticeably larger than the male with two black spots on the forewing upperside, whereas the male is missing those two spots. The male, especially can be confused with other members of the genius. The solid black apical patch on the forewing upperside is equal along the costa and margin is distinctive. 

Habitat Requirements

Whilst, highly migratory and therefore encountered all over the island, it can sometimes be seen in extraordinary numbers, when it hill-tops in the mountainous regions of the island.

Larval Foodplants

Mustard Brassica cretica, Black Mustard Brassica nigra, Turnip or Field Mustard Brassica rapa (cultivated & naturalised), Wild Radish Raphanus raphanistrum, White Mustard Sinapis alba (yellow flowers), Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale, Caper Capparis spinosa, Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus - introduced.

In Corfu, Anne Sordinas has recorded oviposition on T. majus.

Observations

In Europe probably the best know species of butterfly - being broadly known as the Cabbage White. Its high abundances generated by the cultivation of brassicas as a staple food for humans makes the Large White widely considered a pest. Consequently, the parasites of this species are very well studied.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Large White submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 03/01/2023 30/01/2023 27 days
2022 06/01/2022 26/12/2022 354 days
2021 03/02/2021 24/11/2021 294 days
2020 28/12/2020 28/12/2020 0 days
2019 18/08/2019 18/08/2019 0 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 15
2022 1128
2021 453
Grand Total 1598

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Large White (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023 submitted online since 1st January 2023 to 31st January 2023.

Flight Times for the Large White (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month based on all data submitted online since 1st January 2019 to 31st January 2023.

Taxonomy

  • Vernacular/Common Name: Large White
  • Family: Pieridae (Swainson, 1820)
  • Sub-family: Pierinae (Swainson, 1820)
  • Tribe: Pierini (Duponchel, [1835])
  • Genus: Pieris (Schrank, 1801)
  • Species: brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758)

References

For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.