British butterflies, butterfly, Pieris rapae, seasonal dimorphism, Small white, spring butterflies
I think I was probably a little later to the Small white party than most locals this year, possibly because they have gardens and/or allotments, which the Small white butterfly (Pieris rapae) very much enjoys (though, I hasten to add that the Small white is not as destructive as many gardeners might think and it is actually the Large white, which lays its eggs in batches rather than singly, whose larvae can quickly strip those precious cabbage leaves to their veins).
This particular Small white, one of my first three seen on 7 April, has the typical markings of a female hatching from her over-wintering pupa in the springtime, with very pale grey markings on her wing tips and a small pale grey dot on her upper wings. The butterflies that hatch in the summer will have much darker, almost black markings. These differences are known as seasonal dimorphism.
You must be logged in to post a comment.