Pieris rapae Click to enlarge image
Adult Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae Image: Gregory Miller
© Gregory Miller

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    rapae
    Genus
    Pieris
    Subfamily
    Pierinae
    Family
    Pieridae
    Super Family
    Papilionoidea
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    5 cm

Introduction

The Cabbage White Butterfly is probably the most common butterfly found in Sydney after it was accidentally introduced into Australia. It was first recorded in Melbourne in 1929 and had made it to Sydney by 1941.

Habitat

The Cabbage White Butterfly lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

Feeding and diet

The velvety green caterpillars of the Cabbage White Butterfly are considered a pest because they feed on cabbages and other plants found in vegetable gardens, such as cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, radishes and turnips.


Caterpillar, Pieris rapae
Caterpillar, Pieris rapae Image: Gregory Miller
© Gregory Miller

Predators

Two species of wasp were introduced as biological control agents in the 1940s and have helped reduce the butterfly's abundance and impact.