Large White (Pieris brassicae)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

05_25-19_male_25Jul05_Haute Garonne 1033_female_Var_26May06 1039_male_Var_26May06
39039_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15 35605_sex?_Var_20Jun14 40246_larva_Var_23Apr16

One of the most well-known species across Europe and like its little cousin the Small White (P. rapae), it tends to get overlooked by butterfly enthusiasts. It is significantly larger than its Pieris cousins and can generally be identified on size alone.

The size and shape of the upf black apical mark is a sure indicator of brassicae. The sexes are easily differentiated as only the female has the two upf black post-discal spots.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
05_25-19 M

a male, without the two black upf post-discal spots of the female.

 
1033 F

this poor female has in fact been seized by a crab spider, more visible in the enlarged version (click to enlarge) where the spiders legs are just visible, and evidenced by the unnatural head angle. I found this to be an alarmingly frequent occurrence and I wonder how many butterflies are lost in this way every year. The crab spiders are of varying colours, often transparent, and they stay secreted in complex flowerheads where they can stay out of sight until ready to pounce.

185
1039 M a male underside. 185
39039 M a male underside, perhaps not as yellow as the norm. 1600
35605 ? I am not sure if this is a male or female, perhaps the latter on the basis of the roundness of the wings. 20
40246 LARVA a group of caterpillars on a plant of the Brassicaceae genus, possibly Sinapis arvensis (Charlock Mustard). 140

 

05_25-19_male_25Jul05_Haute Garonne

 

1033_female_Var_26May06

 

1039_male_Var_26May06

 

39039_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15

 

35605_sex?_Var_20Jun14

 

40246_larva_Var_23Apr16