Large White - Pieris brassicae

Description

This is the largest of our 'white' butterflies. The female is distinguished from the male by the presence of two black spots, together with a black dash, on the forewing upper side.

Similar Species

Whilst the Large White and Small White can usually be distinguished by size, this isn't always useful in a photo. However there are differences in the shape of the black mark on the forewing tip. In the Large White, this black tip wraps around both the leading edge and trailing edge with the inner boundary strongly curved. In the Small White the black tip has a more or less straight inner line and it doesn't extend very far along the trailing edge.

Photo ID?
Habitat

This species is found in a wide variety of habitats and can turn up almost anywhere, including gardens, allotments, parks, meadows, open grassland and hedgerows.

When to see it

April to September. The first brood emerges in April, with a peak in May. In typical years their offspring emerge in July and fly through August and into early September. There is sometimes a third brood.

Life History

The main larval foodplants are various Crucifers (Cabbage family) but Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) may be used. The larva of this species can reach pest proportions and decimate cabbages to the point that they become mere skeletons.

UK Status

This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere. This species is also known to migrate to the British Isles from the Continent, augmenting the resident population in the process.

VC55 Status

Common throughout Leicestershire & Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map

UK Map