Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Large White:
Large White
Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Large White egg.
ova
  Large White caterpillar.
larva
  Large White chrysalis
pupa
Large White
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Pieridae: Subfamily Pierinae : Genus Pieris: Species brassicae:
Description
The larvae of the Large White feed on wild and cultivated species of the Cruciferae family. The larvae are often encountered on Cabbage and Brussels-sprout plus Oil-seed Rape. The larvae are brightly coloured.

The Large White is on the wing between the end of April to end of June and mid July to October although numbers drop rapidly by mid September. The Large White is the UK's largest white butterfly. It is not always a welcome visitor to gardens and allotments due to the damage inflicted on brassica crops by the larvae which are capable of completely devouring large areas of cabbages. Over recent years the use of pesticides has effected its numbers quite dramaticallly in some places in the UK.
Habitat
A very mobile and migrant species which may be found in any location. The majority of adults are to be found close to breeding areas where brassica crops are grown.
Distribution
The Large White can be found throughout the UK. Although this is a resident species which breeds in large numbers in the UK the population is added to by migrants fro mainland Europe. Numbers vary from year to year.
Where to see the Large White in the British Isles
The Large White can be found throughout the UK. Although this is a resident species which breeds in large numbers in the UK the population is added to by migrants fro mainland Europe. Numbers vary from year to year.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
pupapupapupapupaadultadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultpupapupapupa
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Large White in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Least Concern Least Concern

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
58-63mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
Cruciferae family Cabbages etc plus Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea).
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
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Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 up by 18%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 down by -28%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status not listed (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Large White except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Large White on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Large White can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Large White can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Large White
Image ID BB1350 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male and female (imago)
BB1350 ©
Image ID BB1349 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male and female (imago)
BB1349 ©
Image ID BB1069 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB1069 ©
Image ID BB982 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB982 ©
Image ID BB981 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB981 ©
Image ID BB980 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB980 ©
Image ID BB859 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB859 ©
Image ID BB858 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male (imago)
BB858 ©
Image ID BB857 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White male and female (imago)
BB857 ©
Image ID BB801 - Large White - © Steven Cheshire
Large White female (imago)
BB801 ©
There are 12 photographs of the Large White in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the Large White as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 9 named aberrant forms of the Large White currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. fasciata - Kiefer 1918
ab. flava - Kane 1893
ab. infrafasciata - Graham-Smith & Graham-Smith 1929
ab. lacticolor - Lempke 1953
ab. marginata - Graham-Smith & Graham-Smith 1929
ab. minor - Ksienchopolsky 1911
ab. nigroviridescens - Rocci 1919
ab. reducta - Fritsch 1913
ab. venata - Verity 1908