| Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758)|
| Taxonomical Classification: Animalia / Arthropoda / Insecta / Lepidoptera / Pieridae |
| Small Cabbage White, Small White Maltese name not known|
| Further Information: |
It is widespread and populations are found across Europe, North Africa, Asia, and Great Britain. It has also been accidentally introduced to North America, Australia and New Zealand. The caterpillar of this species is seen as a pest for commercial agriculture. They are a serious pest to cabbage and other mustard family crops.
In appearance it looks like a smaller version of the Large White (Pieris brassicae). The upperside is creamy white with black tips on the forewings. Females also have two black spots in the center of the forewings. Its underwings are yellowish with black speckles. It is sometimes mistaken for a moth due to its plain appearance. The wingspan of adults is roughly 32â€“47 mm. This specis is distinguished from the Large White (Pieris brassicae) by the smaller size and lack of the black band at the tip and margin of the forewings and the black spots are less conspicuous.
P. rapae larva is voracious. Once it hatches from the egg, it eats its own eggshell and then moves to eat the leaves of the host plant. It bores into the interior of the cabbage, feeding on the new sprouts. The mustard oil from the hostplant makes the larvae distasteful to the bird. The larva adjust their feeding rate to maintain a constant rate of nitrogen uptake. They will feed faster in low nitrogen environment and utilize the nitrogen more efficiently (at the cost of efficiency in other nutrients) than larvae hatched on nitrogen high hostplant. However, no significant difference in growth rate was observed between larvae in the two environments.
Information from Wikipedia.org
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