Small White Aberrations

Due to the sheer number of named aberrations for some species, not all are shown on the species pages - only those for which corresponding images are available. This page, however, provides access to all of the named aberrations for a given species, where known and Goodson & Read (1969) is a key resource in this regard.



Aberration in this species chiefly occurs in the upperside ground colour and the extent of the black markings. As usual in the 'whites' many aberrations are unique to either male or female specimens, and being seasonally dimorphic some aberrations are also specific to the generation or 'brood'.

Certain ground colour aberrations in this species have been found mainly in Scotland and Ireland. The aberration flava has been recorded chiefly in Ireland and specimens from the country were bred en masse by entomologists such as Newman in the early 20th century. These aberrations were popular with breeders and collectors and while scarce now in the wild a large number of these impressive forms can be found in collections.

There are 39 named aberrations known to occur in Britain.

Unclassified Aberrations

Small White aberrant - Chantry Hill, West Sussex - 22.9.2010 [Colin Knight]

Photo © Colin Knight

Small White (f) unusual upperside yellow scaling; 3rd(?) brood; Denbies 30th September 2010

Photo © millerd

Photo Album (2 photos) ...

ab. alba (Seebold.Ann.Soc.Esp.Hist.Nat.1898.27.p.112.)

Male. Completely white, without the least black mark. This is the original description and would appear to describe both upper and underside. Lempke maintains that immaculata Selys has the black markings absent on the upperside only but Selys certainly does not say so. For the time being the form is separated.

ab. atomaria (Fruhstorfer.Ent.Z.1909.23.p.42.)

On the upperside of the forewings the basal suffusion especially well developed. Described as a race but only an aberration in the opinion of M. Lempke.

ab. binigrata (Derenne.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.Nam.1924.24.p.66.,

On the upperside of the hindwings a small black spot in the disc as in nigropunctata Lambillion, but in addition another spot beneath the normal costal spot, making two extra ones.

ab. brunneoflavida (

The upper and underside not clear yellow as in flavescens Röber but of a cuivre colour. This probably means copper coloured. Seitz says light brownish.

ab. carruccii (Rostagno.Bull.Soc.Zool.It.1903.12.p.123.series.2.vol.4.)

The underside of the hindwings and apex of the forewings chrome-yellow. This yellow continues along the whole length of the costa of the forewings. The hindwings yellow is bordering on orange covering the wings completely with no trace of the brown streak of ab. leucotera [Stefanelli].

ab. conjugata (

= hallena Bandermann.Int.Ent.Z.1924.18.p.178.

Female with the upper of the two black spots of the forewings united with the apical mark by a powdering of black scales as in ab. conjuncta Verity, but in addition the two black spots themselves are united by black scales.

ab. conjuncta (Mezger.Lamb.1931.31.p.82.)

Female with the upper of the two black discal spots of the forewings united with the apical dark mark by a slight powdering of black scales.

ab. cordata (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.296.)

Male with the discoidal spot of the upperside of the forewings heart-shaped, sometimes the upper spot of the underside is similarly shaped.

ab. costimaculata (Lempke.Lamb.1945.45.p.59.)

The apical patch of the forewings is replaced by a costal spot situated above the median discal spot. Similar to ab. nelo Bergsträsser of P. napi [Green-veined White].

ab. deleta (Strand.Hyt.Mag.Natur.1901.39.p.44.)

The apical mark of the forewings very indistinct and powdered with white. Applies to the summer generation only. Specimens with this character are common in the spring generation and are not deleta as many authors seem to think. Strand obviously named it because it is unusual in the summer generation.

ab. disconulla (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.297.)

Female form in which the two discal spots on the upperside of the forewings fail.

ab. divisa [a] (Gelin.Cat.Lep.Ouest France.1912.p.24.)

Female form in which the lower of the two discal spots of the forewings is clearly divided into two parts. Chiefly among spring generation. Pionneau has given the same name to males, which show this character on the underside.

ab. divisa [b] (Pionneau.(nom.preoc.Gelin).Echange.1928.44.431.p.3.)

The name is given for males, which show on the underside the lower of the two black discal spots clearly divided. Pionneau says that ab. divisa Gelin was the name for females with the lower spot divided on the upperside. Since he calls his divisa ab.nov. he apparently wishes to make it a separate form but the name is preoccupied by divisa Gelin.

ab. elongata (Lempke.Lamb.1934.34.p.144.)

Wings elongated and uneven in shape as in ab. elongata Gelin of P. brassicae [Large White].

ab. fasciata (Tutt.Brit.Butts.1896.p.232.)

= trimaculata

Female with the two black spots in the disc on the upperside of the forewings united by black scales.

ab. flava (ter Haar.Onze.Vlinders.1899.p.3.)

= flavicans’Emp.Russ.1901.1.p.13.
= flavescens Röber.Seitz.Macrolep.1907.1.p.46.
= crocea,figured as novangliae.
= flavescens,figured as novangliae.
= flavescens Bandermann.Int.Ent.Z.1924.18.p.116.
= flavescens Da Silva.Mem.Zool.Univ.Coimbra.Ser.1.150.p.11.

Female form with the ground colour butter-yellow. This is the description of ter Haar’s flava. The other forms are all of the yellow type, which no doubt vary in shade, but it seems best to include them under the first name by ter Haar. They are not the canary-yellow shade of the American novangliae Scudder which has the males also yellow.

ab. flavoapicalis (Lempke.Lamb.1934.34.p.81.)

Male with the apical mark of the forewings yellow instead of blackish or grey.

ab. flavopicta (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.299.)

Female form. On the underside of the hindwings there is no black suffusion, or very little.

ab. fuscosignata (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.295.)

The discal spots of the upperside of the forewings brown-black.

ab. griseosignata (Van Rossum.Ent.Ber.(Amst.).1954.15.p.147.)

All black markings, the basal suffusion, discal spot and apical mark, are all of a pearl-grey colour instead of the usual blackish of normal summer males. This would appear to be an albino.

ab. immaculata (De Selys.Ann.Soc.Ent.Belg.1857.1.p.5.)

= immaculata Cockerell.Entom.1889.22.p.99.

Male with the black marks of the forewings obliterated. The original description does not mention whether upper or underside, or both.

ab. impunctata (Le Moult.Misc.Ent.1944.41.p.54.)

Le Moult uses this name for Chinese males with a strongly reduced apical mark but Lempke, in Tijdschr.Ent.96.p.297, suggests that the name be used for examples without the discal spot on the upperside and the apical patch reduced in size. It is difficult to see how one can alter the author’s description in this way.

ab. infrapallida (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1933.96.p.299.)

Female form. The underside of the hindwings and apex of the forewings of a very pale yellow.

ab. lacticolor (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.295.)

Male form with the ground colour creamy-white.

ab. leucotera (Stefanelli.Bull.Soc.Ent.It.1869.1.p.147.)

The apical patch entirely absent but the discal spots present. Presumably female.

ab. longomaculata (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.296.)

The discal spots of the upperside of the forewings distinctly lengthened.

ab. longomaculata (Rostagno.Bull.Soc.Zool.It.1904.13.ser.2.vol.5.p.123.)

Described under Pieris rapae but placed under P. ergane [Mountain Small White] in Seitz by Bollow. If correct the name must be withdrawn from rapae.

ab. magnomaculata (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.296.)

The discal spots of the upperside of the forewings distinctly enlarged.

ab. mairlotii (

Of small size and the forewings more pointed at the apex and with a straight external border. This differs from ab. minor only in shape and is of little consequence.

ab. marginata (Graham-Smith.Ent.Rec.1929.41.p.174.footnote.)

On the upperside of the hindwings a thin marginal line or band of black scales usually heaviest at the apex. Similar to the same form of brassicae [Large White] with the same name.

ab. maxima (

Very large. Forewings 50mm.

ab. minor [a] (Agassiz.Mitt.Schweiz.Ent.Ges.1900.10.p.238.)

= minima

Specimens of small size.

ab. minor [b] (Costa.Faun.Napoli.Lep.1832-36.8.)

This does not belong to P. rapae but ergane [Mountain Small White] according to Turati. The name should not ne used in rapae. Consequently ab. minor Agassiz has priority for small specimens in this species.

ab. nigrans [a] (,see Lamb.34.p.144.)

Above and below of a uniform grey. Verity described this form under Pieris napi [Green-veined White] but Lempke in Lamb.34.p.144 states that Oberthür, who had the specimen, informed him that he was absolutely certain that it was in fact P. rapae [Small White], not napi. The figure would suggest this to be the case. The name should be withdrawn from P. napi. Lempke has erected it for P. rapae.

ab. nigrans [b] (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.298.,

Forewings on the upperside at the base blackish. Hindwings with the basal half strongly darkened. On the underside of the forewings the whole basal half is blackish and the hindwings unicolorous brown-black. From the dark areas the wings flow out into paler colour.

ab. nigropunctata (Lambillion.Rev.Mens.Soc.Ent.Nam.1906.p.42.)

= quaterpuncta Delahaye.Cat.Lep.Maine.Suppl.1909.
= posteromaculata Verity.Rhop.Pal.1911.p.337.
= relicta
= subpunctata Kuhlmann.Int.Ent.Z.1916.9.p.113.
= nigropunctata Williams.Entom.1921.54.p.125.
= hyperpunctata Scheffner.Soc.Ent.1925.40.p.39.
= melanosticta Grabe.Arch.Ins.Oberrheingeg.1928.2.p.231.

Hindwings showing a small black spot beyond the cell, between nervures III3 and IVi. All these forms show this small black spot in the disc of the hindwings upperside.

ab. novangliae (Scudder.Canad.Ent.1872.4.p.79.)

= aurea Rolfe.Entom.1876.p.199.

Sulphur-yellow approaching in depth of colour the wings of Eurema lisa [a species of Coliadinae that occurs in Central America and the southern part of North America]. Described from male specimens. Rolfe’s aurea was described from a male, which had the wings of a bright yellow colour, captured at Oldham, Lancashire and mentioned by Curtis in his Farm Insects prior to 1876.

ab. obsoleta (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.297.)

Spring generation. The discal spots of the forewings feebly developed but both present.

ab. posteropunctata (Stach.Spraw.Kom.Fizyogr.1925.58.p.107.f.1.)

Female with the upper of the two black spots on the upperside of the forewings united with the apical mark by a thin line of black scales and showing on the hindwings two black spots in the disc, one small, the other somewhat larger.

ab. praeterita (Krulikowsky.Soc.Ent.1908.23.p.3.)

= bimaculata Verity.Bull.Soc.Ent.It.1916.48.p.181.

Male showing on the upperside of the forewings a second black spot beneath the usual one in the disc, as in the female.

ab. pseudaestiva (Lempke.Tijdschr.Ent.1953.96.p.295.)

Of the spring generation with enlarged apical mark and markings, which are deep black like those of the summer generation. Otherwise the form has the facies of the spring generation.

ab. semialba (Caruel.Rev.Fr.Lep.1954.14.p.150.)

On the hindwings the black costal spot is totally absent, above and below.

ab. subtalbata (Goodson.Entom.1959.92.p.149.)

The underside of the hindwings and apex of the forewings, normally of some shade of yellow, are white. The hindwings are finely sprinkled with blackish scales, mostly towards the base, and there is a very slight trace of ochreous at the base of the costa.

ab. subtus-flava (Lempke.Lamb.1934.34.p.89.)

Male form only. The underside of the hindwings and apex of the forewings of an intense yellow, not merely pale yellow as in the type [sic] [typical specimen].

ab. subtusmagnomaculata (Stammeshaus.Ent.Ber.(Amst.).1954.15.p.271.)

On the underside of the forewings the discal spot or spots strongly enlarged.

ab. triangulata (Verity.Bull.Soc.Ent.It.1916.48.p.180.)

The apical mark of the forewings upperside extended and limited interiorly by a straight line, forming a triangle.

ab. unimacula (Dziurzynski.Z.Ost.Ent.Ver.1918.3.p.20.)

= unimaculata Yok.Dobuts.Z.1921.33.p.384.

Female form with only one black discal spot on the upperside of the forewings instead of two.