Southern Small White

Pieris (Artogeia) mannii


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Pieris mannii

Female, Switzerland, September 2017

Pieris mannii

Female, Switzerland, September 2015

Pieris mannii

Female, Switzerland, August 2013

Pieris mannii

Male, Switzerland, May 2012

Pieris mannii

Male, Switzerland, September 2012

Pieris mannii

Male, Switzerland, September 2012

Pieris mannii

Male (I think), Switzerland, September 2016

Pieris mannii

Male (I think), Switzerland, April 2018

Pieris mannii

Male, Switzerland, March 2012

Pieris mannii

The same male

Pieris mannii

With green-veined white and black-veined whites, Switzerland, July 2014

Pieris mannii

Mating pair, Switzerland, September 2012

Pieris mannii

Wingtip, showing no fork in v.7 (though in this individual there is a very tiny kink)

Pieris mannii distribution


Distribution

This butterfly is very similar to the more familiar and widespread small white. It is not, however, a pest of domestic or commercial cabbages! In recent years it has been spreading its range, perhaps due to acquiring a more eclectic taste in foodplants. It is creeping northwards through France and in Switzerland has moved up the mountains out of its strongholds in the Rhône Valley. It is worth looking out for even as far north as southern England, just in case this expansion continues unabated. Nevertheless, it remains - and doubtless will remain - a much more local and specialised butterfly than its cousin.

The most obvious difference between southern small white and small white is the dark apical tip of the forewing. In southern small white this extends down the outer margin at least as far as the top of the black discal mark. In small white it does not extend this far down and is noticeably longer along the costa than the outer margin. Another useful point of distinction is the underside of the hindwing, which is more evenly and densely scaled in southern small white. The wings of southern small white are also more rounded, though this character should not be relied upon. Finally, if a very good view of the underside is had, the present species lacks a fork in v.7 near the tip of the forewing.

Southern small whites appear as early as March in Switzerland, though usually slightly after the first small whites. This may simply be a function of numbers - small whites are commoner, so are more likely to be seen first just because they are more likely to be seen at all. I have frequently seen the summer broods up in the mountains, as high as 1200m, though I haven't seen the spring broods up there. Like its cousins, this species spends the winter as a chrysalis.