Small White

Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758)



A medium white butterfly, with black tips to the forewing upperside, and with pale yellow hindwing underside. The male and female are similar, the male has one black spot and the female two black spots on the forewing upperside. Both have two black spots on the forewing underside. The first brood markings can be faint. The black apical patch on the forewing upperside, which is more along the costa (leading edge) of the wing, than along the margin, enables separation from other members of the genius which it can be easily confused with. 

Habitat Requirements

Ubiquitous - found everywhere.

Larval Foodplants

Arabis Arabis collina (flowers white to purplish-pink), Arabis Arabis turrita (flowers pale yellow), Arabis Arabis verna (flowers white to pale violet), Mustard Brassica cretica, Black Mustard Brassica nigra, Turnip or Field Mustard Brassica rapa (cultivated & naturalised), Swine-cress Lepidium coronopus, Lesser Swinecress Lepidium didymum, Hoary Cress Lepidium draba, White Mustard Sinapis alba (yellow flowers), Hedge Mustard Sisymbrium officinale, Wild Mignonette Reseda lutea, Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus - introduced.


Whilst this highly migratory species clearly breeds on Corfu, population numbers must be massively inflated by migration events. Its use of Brassicas and Nasturtiums as host plants makes it widely considered a pest.

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

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 02/01/2023 24/11/2023 326 days
2022 04/02/2022 26/12/2022 325 days
2021 10/02/2021 24/11/2021 287 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 613
2022 552
2021 248
Grand Total 1413

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Small White (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Small White (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


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


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