Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (1 September 2012)

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains:
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (9 September 2012) Butterflies of the Adirondacks: Cabbage White in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (9 September 2012)

The Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) is a small to medium-sized whitish butterfly [1] which may be seen in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York during much of the summer. It is also known as the Small White and European Cabbage. The latter name is apparently a reference to the fact that this insect (reportedly native to Eurasia and North Africa [2]) was accidentally introduced to North America from Europe. [3] [4] [5] [6] This butterfly is said to be the most ubiquitous butterfly in the United States. [7] [8] [9]

The upper side of the wings are white, with a black patch on the fore wing. The female has two submarginal black spots; the male has one. From below, both wings are evenly yellow-green or gray-green. [10] [11]

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (16 June 2012)Butterflies of the Adirondacks: Cabbage White in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (16 June 2012)

Sources conflict on the character of its flight, with some stating that its flight is strong but erratic,[13] while others contending that the flight of this butterfly is straight and constantly fluttering, with minimal gliding.[14] Male Cabbage Whites patrol for females around host plants.[15] Females lay single eggs on the undersides of host leaves. The caterpillar is green with a thin broken yellow line on each side, as well as a thin yellow dorsal line.[16] Caterpillar hosts include many plants in the mustard family. Adult Cabbage Whites consumer flower nectar from a wide array of plants including mustards, cabbage, cauliflower, dandelion, red clover, asters, and mints. [17] [18]

From the ecological standpoint, the Cabbage White is a generalist. [19] Its habitat includes almost any type of open space, such as bogs, meadows, woods, roadsides, gardens, and suburbs. [20] The range of this butterfly is from central Canada south through the United States to northwest Mexico. [21]

Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (16 June 2012)Butterflies of the Adirondacks: Cabbage White in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (16 June 2012)

The flight period for Cabbage Whites in the New York City area of New York State is from late March to hard frost, although they are most numerous from early June through early September. [22] [23] In southern Ontario, Cabbage Whites can be found from mid-April to mid-October. [24] Cabbage White butterflies are present during the summer months in the Adirondack Mountains and were seen in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House and in the adjacent Butterfly Garden throughout most of the summer of 2012. We had Cabbage Whites in the Butterfly House almost every day that the house was open, except for the first week and one other week. [25]

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.