Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Cabbage White
Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758)


Family: Pieridae
Subfamily: Pierinae
Identification: Upperside of wings white; forewing with black tip. Two submarginal black spots in female, one in male. Underside of hindwing and forewing apex evenly yellow-green or gray-green. Spring and fall short-day form is smaller, less yellow, with reduced black areas.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.8 cm).
Life History: Males patrol for females. Females lay single eggs on undersides of host leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: Two to three in northern part of range; 7-8 in the south. It is usually the first butterfly to emerge in spring.
Caterpillar Hosts: Many plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family and occasionally some in the caper family (Capparidaceae).
Adult Food: Flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including mustards, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints.
Habitat: Almost any type of open space including weedy areas, gardens, roadsides, cities, and suburbs.
Range: From central Canada south through the United States (except Florida Keys, southern Louisiana, and South Texas) to northwest Mexico.
Conservation: Not required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: Ensure control steps do not affect other invertebrate fauna.
Comments: NULL
Alternate Scientific Names:
Artogeia rapae