The Cryptic Wood White only occurs in Ireland, where it is widespread. It was discovered to be different from the Wood White in 2001 and, more recently, its identification was changed again to this new name. The Wood White is very similar, but seems to be restricted to the Burren region in Ireland.

The upperwings are white with rounded edges. The males have a black mark in the edge of the forewing. The undersides are white, with indistinct grey or greenish markings.

Size and Family

  • Family: Whites and yellows
  • Size: Medium  
  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 42mm

Conservation Status

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Medium
  • Protected under Schedule 5 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (for sale only)
  • European threat status: Not threatened

    Caterpillar Foodplants

    The foodplants are not well known, but include various legumes such as Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis), Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca), Common Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), and Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil (L. pedunculatus).



    A wide range of open habitats with lush grass including rough grassland, road and rail verges and hedgerows.


    • Countries: Ireland
    • In the UK this species is only found in Northern Ireland
    • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s: Not assessed

    Cryptic Wood White by Robert Thompson

    Cryptic Wood White

    Cryptic Wood White - James O'Neill

    Cryptic Wood White pair

    Cryptic Wood White (mating pair) - James O'Neill

    Cryptic Wood White (mating pair)

    Cryptic Wood White - James O'Neill

    Cryptic Wood White

    Cryptic Wood White - James O'Neill

    Cryptic Wood White