From the family of Pieridae (Whites and Sulphurs) and the order Lepidoptera, Cabbage Whites are the common flurries we see amongst our gardens, yards, and countless wildlife habitation. They can be identified by their white or yellowish wings consisting of one or two dark dots. Cabbage Whites are one of the first butterflies to make an appearance when it first warms up, thus having been given the nickname “summer snowflakes.”
Sustaining complete metamorphosis and four life stages “egg,” “larvae,” “pupa” and then “adulthood,” it is interesting to know that Cabbage Whites are one of the biggest pests for farmers and crop keepers. When eggs are laid by impregnated Cabbage Whites, each egg is given a separate host plant and is usually hidden underneath the leaves, buds, or stem.
Once they hatch, they begin devouring the foliage. Once they begin the “pupa” stage, they leave behind the nasty chew holes that are soon discovered by the growers. In fact, Cabbage White eggs are laid separately to keep the larvae from cannibalizing each other. Their eggs are brightly colored, helping females to spot occupied plants.
Some more facts: The Pieridae family consists of about 1,100 different species worldwide, where most of these butterflies are found in the tropics. Tooele County is home to 15 different Pieridae butterflies. The Cabbage White butterfly is North America’s most common Pieridae species.
Addie T. Lindsay, 17, is an accomplished writer and a photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at CritterChatter@live.com.