Cabbage White, Pieris rapae

Cabbage White

Pieris rapae

A plain white butterfly with a solid, black front wing tip, and with either one spot (male) or two spots (female) on the front wing. The hind wing beneath is pale yellow.

Any open area with a variety of mustard species available for the larvae including gardens, old fields, and waysides.

Overwintering Strategy:   Chrysalis

At least three broods, overwintering as a chrysalis. They may be found from April through November throughout the state.

The Cabbage White was introduced into the United States in 1860 and spread rapidly throughout the country. It is currently a very common butterfly in Wisconsin. This butterfly feeds on members of the mustard family, which includes such common garden plants as broccoli, cabbage, and turnips. This invasive species is thought to replace native species in some areas.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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