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small white   <>   pieris  rapae   <> bánóg bheag

Small White Butterfly, Nth Co. Dublin, August '05
© DHardiman 2005 

Habitat:   The Small White like the Large White is widespread and common especially in gardens and waste ground. 
Two or three broods occur annually. 

Flight Time:   April and May
                        July and early August

Larval Food Plant:   
  Members of the Brassica family
  Garden Nasturtium  Trapaeolum 
Hibernation:   Overwinters as a pupa. 

Numbers are often increased by immigration.


Small White Butterfly, Nth Co. Dublin, August '05

Small White             © DHardiman 2005



 Life Cycle of  the
Small White


Eggs are laid singly under a leaf of the food plant,  preferably in a sheltered  position.
Initially straw-coloured but becoming a darker yellow within a few days.

© DHardiman 2002 

They are rounded,  almost conical in shape and  c.1.0 mm high.
They hatch  within days in warm weather but can take up to 7 days. 


The larva is green in colour and well camouflaged.  It has a narrow  pale yellow-green dorsal stripe and two distinctive yellow spots on each segment along the line of the spiracles. 
The body is covered with small black tubercles each containing a short  seta.  
The larval stage lasts c.20 days before pupation.

 © DHardiman 2001


Larvae of the spring generation often pupate on their food plant  but those of  a later generation  leave their food plant to pupate on fences, windowsills etc. The pupae are held in position by a cremaster and a silken girdle spun by mature larvae. 


First generation pupae produce butterflies in c.3 weeks while the final generation overwinters  in this stage, producing butterflies the following April.


The adults emerges at the end of April and mating takes place.  They survive for approximately 3 weeks.


 Contents ]

 WoodWhite ] Brimstone ] LargeWhite ] [ SmallWhite ] Green-veinedWhite ] OrangeTip ] 

Hesperidae ] Pieridae ] Lycaenidae ] Nymphalidae ] Satyridae ] Migrants ] .