Scientific name: Pieris napi
The Green-veined White butterfly is widespread and common throughout Britain and Ireland.
The wings are white, with prominent greenish veins on the hindwing. The upperwings have one or more spots. The Small White butterfly is very similar, particularly in flight, but lacks the distinctive grey-green veins that are more noticeable when the butterfly is at rest.
This butterfly is fairly mobile, flying over large areas in search of a mate and breeding grounds. Males sometimes gather on nutrient-rich surfaces like mud (know as mud-puddling).
The female lays bottle-shaped, pale yellow eggs singly underneath cruciferous leaves in damp areas. They develop a greenish hue, but become whiter when they hatch, after around a week.
Once hatched, the caterpillar eats its eggshell then moves on to the leaves of the foodplant. It starts off a pale cream-yellow, then turns increasingly darker shades of green with yellow rings around its spiracles (respiratory openings). It moults four times over a period of three to four weeks.
The caterpillar pupates in low vegetation supported by silk thread and a hook in the tip of the chrysalis. Its colour ranges from pale brown to green. Unless it is overwintering, it remains like this for around ten days.
Size and Family
- Family: Whites and yellows
- Size: Medium
- Wing Span Range (male to female): 50mm
- Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
- European status: Not threatened
A range of wild crucifers is used: Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) Water- cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum), Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Large Bitter-cress (C. amara), Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea), and Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum).
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and cultivated crucifers are used occassionally.
This common butterfly prefers damp areas with lush vegetation, where its foodplant can be found. It usually occurs in hedgerows, ditches, banks of rivers, lakes and ponds, damp meadows, moorland and woodland rides and edges. It is less frequently seen in gardens and parks and dryer, open habitats like chalk grassland
- Countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
- Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland
- Distribution trend since the 1970s = -1%
- Butterflies and farmland
- Farmland Butterflies ID chart
- Woodlands for Butterflies and Moths
- Butterflies in towns and cities