Butterflies of the
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Pieris brassicae, Kalejnada, West Sikkim, India ©
There may be as
many as 34 species of Pieris worldwide,
although the status of some is uncertain. The commonest and most
widespread species is rapae, which was
originally restricted to Europe and temperate Asia but has been
introduced by man to North America, Africa, s.e. Asia, Australia and
The genus can be divided into 2
groups - the 'Large' Whites brassicae,
& tadjika; and the smaller species
mannii, napi and
canidia which have more rounded
fore-wings. Some taxonomists place the latter group into a distinct
genus Artogeia, citing characteristics
including chromosome number, ovipositing behaviour and larval
Large White, sometimes inaccurately referred to as the Cabbage
White, is distributed across Europe including the Mediterranean
islands and the sub-arctic areas of Scandinavia. It also occurs in
north Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
with many other Pierines, the Large White is strongly migratory and
thus occurs in a wide range of habitats. In India it occurs
primarily in the Himalayan foothills, where it is found at
elevations between about 500-2000m.
The larval foodplants include Cardamine,
Rorippa ( Brassicaceae ).
species is usually found either singly or in two's and three's, flying
in open glades, field edges, gardens, or along riverbanks. Both sexes
visit a wide range of herbaceous flowers, fluttering from plant to
plant and rarely settling for long.