Green-veined White

Pieris (Artogeia) napi


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Pieris napi

Switzerland, June 2018 - with small whites

Pieris napi

Female, Switzerland, May 2013

Pieris napi

Female, Switzerland, July 2016

Pieris napi

Female, Suffolk, UK, September 2018

Pieris napi

Female, Switzerland, June 2015

Pieris napi

Male, Switzerland, April 2018

Pieris napi

Male, Switzerland, April 2013

Pieris napi

Male, Switzerland, May 2016

Pieris napi

Male, Switzerland, May 2013

Pieris napi

Switzerland, July 2013 - not certain of the sexes

Pieris napi

Switzerland, September 2011

Pieris napi

Mating pair, Italy, April 2013

Pieris napi distribution

This very widespread species is similar to the small white but unlike that species not a pest of commercial or domestic cabbages. It is often the first non-hibernator to emerge in the spring and remains common in a variety of habitats - usually partly shady or on the edge of woods - throughout the year until the autumn.

The green colour of the veins on the underside hindwing is an illusion created by black scales on a yellow ground. The amount and intensity of this dark scaling is very variable, as the pictures above show. It is usually very obvious in the first brood of the year but generally much weaker in later broods. Sometimes the pattern is almost imperceptible, being reduced to a vague shadow around some veins. The upperside, in contrast, is more strongly marked in later broods. Unlike that of the small white, the dark apical mark extends further down the outer margin than along the costa, but unlike that of southern small white, it does so in broken form, often looking like a succession of diminishing triangles.

The female is generally easily distinguished from the female mountain green-veined white. The latter is heavily suffused in grey on an often yellowish ground. Males are not so easy. Because both species are usually common where found and rarely, if ever, overlap, it generally suffices to wait for a female to appear to confirm the species. If no females turn up, other clues like habitat, altitude and season are useful - mountain green-veined white, as the name suggests, is a mountain butterfly of more open habitats. Sometimes it is possible to recognise a male green-veined white as not being mountain green-veined white, because the former is variable while the latter is not. But some male green-veined look identical to the normal mountain green-veined form.

Like its close cousins, the green-veined white spends the winter as a chrysalis. The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of wild Brassicaceae.