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

Small White egg.
ova
  Small White caterpillar.
larva
  Small White chrysalis
pupa
Small White
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Pieridae: Subfamily Pierinae : Genus Pieris: Species rapae:
Description
Adult butterflies are particularly attracted to white flowers on which they feed.
Habitat
It is a common visitor to gardens where it breeds on brassicas and Nasturtium though it relies less on cultivated brassica crops than the Large White and breeds on a range of wild foodplants.
Distribution
The Small White can be found throughout the UK except the islands of Shetland Orkney and Western Isles. Locally common in Northern Scotland. A native species whose numbers are boosted by migrants from mainland Europe.
Where to see the Small White in the British Isles
The Small White can be found throughout the UK except the islands of Shetland Orkney and Western Isles. Locally common in Northern Scotland. A native species whose numbers are boosted by migrants from mainland Europe.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
pupapupapupapupaadultadultovaovalarvaepupaadultpupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultpupapupapupa
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Small 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
38-57mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
Cultivated brassicas are the primary foodplants including cabbages and Nasturtium (Tropaeoleum majus). Wild crucifers such as Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba), and Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea) are also used to a lesser degree.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
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 down by -34%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 up by 15%

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 Small 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 Small 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*
Small White can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Small White can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Small White
Image ID BB2395 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White female (imago)
BB2395 ©
Image ID BB2385 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB2385 ©
Image ID BB2384 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB2384 ©
Image ID BB2383 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB2383 ©
Image ID BB2382 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB2382 ©
Image ID BB2381 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB2381 ©
Image ID BB1908 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White (imago)
BB1908 ©
Image ID BB921 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White male (imago)
BB921 ©
Image ID BB920 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White male (imago)
BB920 ©
Image ID BB919 - Small White - © Steven Cheshire
Small White male (imago)
BB919 ©
There are 17 photographs of the Small White in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the Small White as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 8 named aberrant forms of the Small White currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. divisa - Gelin 1912
ab. fasciata - Tutt 1896
ab. flava - ter Haar 1899
ab. impunctata - Le Moult 1944
ab. lacticolor - Lempke 1953
ab. leucotera - Stefanelli 1869
ab. praeterita - Krulikowsky 908
ab. subtus-flava - Lempke 1934