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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Green-veined White male - Solihull West Midlands 12.05.2014
Wingspan
40 - 52mm
Photo © nfreem
Green-veined White

Pieris napi
PEE-err-iss
NAY-py
Number: 58.008
B&F No.: 1551
Family:Pieridae (Duponchel, 1835)
Subfamily:Pierinae (Duponchel, 1835)
Tribe:Pierini (Duponchel, 1835)
Genus:Pieris (Schrank, 1801)
Subgenus: 
Species:napi (Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies:sabellicae (Stephens, 1828)
 thomsoni (Warren, 1968)
 britannica (Müller & Kautz, 1939)
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  Introduction  

This is a common butterfly of damp grassland and woodland rides and is often mistaken for its cousin, the Small White. It can be found from spring through to autumn in parks and gardens, as well as less-urban areas such as meadows and woodland rides. The so-called green veins on the underside of the adults are, in fact, an illusion created by a subtle combination of yellow and black scales. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere although it is absent from Shetland and areas of the Scottish Highlands. It is also a highly-variable species and populations have been distinguished based on an analysis of androconial scales as documented in Warren (1967), Warren (1968), Thomson (1970-1) and other articles.

Taxonomy Notes

Esper (1777) described the summer generation of P. napi as f. napaeae, the figure for which shows a very plain hindwing underside, with subdued markings and only a small amount of yellow. The nominate form, f. napi, is used to describe the spring generation.

Pieris napi ssp. napi

The species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Sweden). The nominate subspecies has not been recorded in the British Isles.

Pieris napi ssp. sabellicae

This subspecies was first defined in Stephens (1828) as shown here and as shown in this plate (type locality: England). This subspecies is found in England and Wales. However, in the north of England and southern Scotland, there is no clear dividing line between the distribution of this subspecies and that of the subspecies thomsoni. Bowden (1975) considers the name sabellicae to be redundant, suggesting septentrionalis Verity (1916, type-locality Westcliff-on-sea) instead. Dennis (1977) also questions the name: "The southern English race is superficially very similar to samples from the Continent, and the slight differences evidenced in its smaller size, brighter yellow underside and reduced seasonal dimorphism could well be part of environmental variation, as was indeed indicated by rearing Tuscany napi in Durham (Verity 1916). This, together with the marked seasonal dimorphism and microgeographical variation between adjacent localities makes these names [sabellicae, vulgaris] inapplicable".

Spring brood males have very feint markings and often lack the single spot on each forewing, whereas summer brood males have more pronounced markings. Spring brood females, on the other hand, are generally more heavily marked than their offspring, especially on the forewings. In both sexes, summer brood adults are generally larger than those of the spring brood.

Pieris napi ssp. sabellicae (Stephens, 1828)

Sabellicae. Plate III. f.3,♂. - f.4.♀. - Alis suprà albidis basi nigricante, utrinquè fuscescente-venosis; subtus anticis apice, posticis paginâ omni flavescentibus. (Exp. alar. 1 unc. 7-10 lin.)

Pa. Sabellicae. Petiver, pl.1. f.17,18, ♂. - f.15,16, ♀. - Po.Sabellicae. Steph. Catal.

Allied to Po. Napi, but dissimilar in form, the wings being shorter and more rounded; the anterior being nearly of the form of those of Po. Cardamines,— it has the upper surface of all the wings of a yellowish-white, with broad dusky irrorated nervures; broadest towards the hinder margin : the male has the base of the anterior wings and a single irregular spot in the fourth marginal cell dusky, and the female the base and tips of the same wings, a spot in the fourth and sixth marginal cells, and the inner edge of the wings of the same colour : both sexes have a similarly coloured spot on the upper margin of the posterior wings above. Beneath, all the wings are adorned with very broad dusky nervures, resembling those in var. [zeta: Dilated nervures of the posterior wings beneath dusky in both sexes] of Po. Napi, but varying in different specimens; and the dilated nervure on the upper edge of the discoidal cell is destitute of the insulated yellow spot, which every specimen of Po. Napi that has passed under my examination possesses.

Spring Brood


Green Veined White - Ffos-y-ffin - 16-04-2014
Male
Photo © Wurzel
Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 12-May-13
Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White female - Norfolk Estate, Sussex 14-April-2011
Female
Photo © Neil Hulme
Green Veined White Female (First Brood) - Crawley, Sussex 27-April-06
Female Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo

Summer Brood


Green-veined White male - Grafton Wood 24.08.2013
Male
Photo © nfreem
Green-veined White (male), Steyning (22 August 2011)
Male Underside
Photo © Mark Colvin
Green-veined white female summer brood - Oversley Wood 21.07.2012
Female
Photo © nfreem
Green-veined White (female), Steyning (22 August 2011)
Female Underside
Photo © Mark Colvin

Pieris napi ssp. thomsoni

This subspecies was first defined in Warren (1968) as shown here (type locality: Sheriffmuir, West Perthshire). This subspecies is found in Scotland, with most records coming from a belt between Argyllshire in the west and Fifeshire and East Lothian in the south-east. Another stronghold is the Thurso district of Caithness. In southern Scotland and in the north of England, there is no clear dividing line between the distribution of this subspecies and that of the subspecies sabellicae. This subspecies also exhibits differences between spring and summer broods, as described for the subspecies sabellicae. This subspecies exhibits minor colour differences with the subspecies sabellicae as follows:

1. On the upperside, the veins of the forewings, and sometimes hindwings, are heavily suffused with black. This is especially true in the female.

2. On the underside of the hindwings, a small proportion of adults have a yellow, rather than white, ground colour, which may be tinged with orange. This is especially true in the female.

3. The underside is generally darker, with the dark scaling on the veins appearing more black than grey.

Dennis & Shreeve (1996) make an interesting assertion when listing thomsoni: "probably = britannica".

Pieris napi ssp. thomsoni (Warren, 1968)

Turning to the superficial features of the Scottish race, the most conspicuous are of course the markings of the females. The majority of these are of the form described as radiata in P. bryoniae by Röber. In this the nervures of the forewings, and sometimes hindwings also, on the upperside are outlined in black, lightly or heavily. In the Scottish race many have the areas between the nervures also suffused with black. They most often have a white ground-colour and a few specimens can resemble P. napi exactly. Some however (estimated at about 25% by Mr. Thomson), have a yellow ground-colour. In these the dark suffusion can occur as in the white specimens. The yellow colour is not that of the well-known Irish yellow specimens (as illustrated by Müller and Kautz 1939 [Müller & Kautz (1939)], plate 1, figs. 5,6), but close that that of the flavescens form of P. bryoniae (as Müller and Kautz [Müller & Kautz (1939)], plate 5, figs. 7, or between that and fig. 6). All these female forms are of course characteristic of P. adalwinda, though they do not habitually occur in one locality. They concur with the characters of the scales connecting the Scottish race with P. adalwinda.

A further character connecting with P. adalwinda is the colouring of the under side. This mostly is darker than in normal P. napi, the dark scaling on the nervures is more black than grey. There is also a not infrequent tendency for the marking on the hindwing to spread on each side of the nervures, especially on the basal half of the wing. The ground-colour is often a deeper yellow, especially in the females, with a tinge of orange, somewhat as in the figure given by Müller and Kautz [Müller & Kautz (1939)] (pl. 10, fig. 4). These features are normal to P. adalwinda, but like all other characters, very variable in thomsoni. It is impossible to leave this race under the obliterating name P. napi. It is a fluctuating race of P. adalwinda and must have a distinctive name. Müller and Kautz (1939) [Müller & Kautz (1939)], used the name "britannica" Vty. for it. Fortunately that misleading title is ruled out, for the types of britannica, which are in the Oberthür collection, came from the south of Ireland. The Irish race, though different from that of England, is certainly a race of P. napi. It is Mr. Thomson's work and observations that rescued this unique race from oblivion, so I am naming it P. adalwinda subsp. thomsoni n. subsp. The male holotype and female allotype and one male and female paratype (the latter being a yellow one), are from Sheriffmuir, Dunblane, Perthshire, at 600 feet altitude; and one male and one female paratype from Dunblane at 200 feet altitude, all in the Thomson collection; and 11 paratypes in the author's collection, of which two males and four females come from the Carron Valley, Stirlingshire, two males and two females from the Kilsyth Hills, Stirlingshire, and one female from St. Andrews, Fifeshire.

Spring Brood


Green-veined White male - Westhill, (near Aberdeen) 1-June-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Male
Photo © Ken McHardy
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14-4
Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-Veined White - imago - Loch Cre - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]
Female
Photo © Adrian Riley
Female Underside

Summer Brood


Green-veined White male - Forvie Sands, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire 26-July-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Male
Photo © Ken McHardy
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-6
Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - female - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14
Female
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - female - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14-2
Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Pieris napi ssp. britannica

This subspecies was first defined in Müller & Kautz (1939) (type locality: Ireland). This subspecies is found throughout Ireland, where it is common, as well as parts of Scotland, as confirmed by Verity (1905-1911), Verity (1916) and Bowden (1970). Chalmers-Hunt (1970) extends the distribution to the Isle of Man. This subspecies exhibits differences between spring and summer broods, as described for the subspecies sabellicae. This subspecies differs from the subspecies sabellicae as follows:

1. It is smaller in size.

2. The black markings are more intense. According to Ford (1945) "The black scaling is particularly pronounced and the spots on the fore-wings of the females not infrequently tend to coalesce into a band. Moreover, the white areas are generally rather cream-coloured".

3. On the underside, the veins have a light grey border.

4. The undersides of the hindwings have a superb yellow colour.

5. There are fewer differences between the spring and summer generations.

Pieris napi ssp. britannica (Müller & Kautz, 1939)

The description of this subspecies is included within an extensive German text that runs to several pages. The intent of the definition is as follows:

A pre-ice age, "tertiary napi", moved into the British Isles and survived the ice age. After the ice age, continental napi moved back into the British Isles while the land bridge was still open and bred with the tertiary napi in the south. "Pure" tertiary napi remained in Scotland and Northern Ireland. So, there is a dark form in Scotland and Northern Ireland, a lighter, "mixed" form in the rest of the British Isles, and napi proper, on the continent. Verity apparently identified the southern mixed form as napi and the northern forms as britannica.

In their description, Müller & Kautz refer to the definition given by Verity (1905-1911) which is reproduced below.

Original (French)

Ayant vu de grandes séries de cette espèce provenant d'Irlande et d'Ecosse, j'ai pu me persuader qu'il existe dans ces pays une race bien distincte (Pl. XXXII, fig.4 et 6), charactérisée par sa petite taille, l'intensité des dessins noir, les nervures bordées légèrement de gris aussi sur les antérieures en dessous, la superbe teinte jaune des postérieures en dessous, la différence moins marquée des générations etc.; je la nommerai donc britannica; la première génération en Angleterre diffère peu de cette forme.

Translation

Having seen large series of this species from Ireland and Scotland, I am persuaded that a clearly distinct race exists in these countries (Pl. XXXII, figs. 4 and 6), characterised by its small size, the intensity of the black markings, the veins lightly bordered in grey on the undersides of the forewings as well, the superb yellow colour of the hindwing undersides, the less marked difference between the generations &c.; I will therefore call it britannica; the first generation in England differs little from this form.

Spring Brood


Green-Veined White - Male Upperside 26/04/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Male
Photo © Dave McCormick
Male Underside
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - female -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14
Female
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - female -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14-3
Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Summer Brood


Male
Male Underside
Green-veined White - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-50
Female
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-62
Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

  Phenology  

First-brood adults typically emerge in late April, peaking around the middle of May and gradually tailing off through June. The second brood, which is always stronger than the first brood, starts to emerge in early July. However, in good years, the second brood may emerge in late June and give rise to a third brood.

Pieris napi ssp. sabellicae


Pieris napi ssp. thomsoni


Pieris napi ssp. britannica


The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.


  Habitat  

The butterfly can be found in a variety of locations, including parks, gardens, meadows, woodland rides, hedgerows and, in fact, anywhere foodplants and nectar sources exist. This species favours damp areas but can also be found in small sheltered pockets, such as patches of scrub, in dry and open habitat such as chalk grassland.

  Larval Foodplants  

The primary larval foodplants are Charlock (Sinapis arvensis), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Large Bitter-cress (Cardamine amara), Water-cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum), Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and Wild Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum). Crucifers (various) (Cruciferae family (various)) and Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) are also used.

  Nectar Sources  

Adults feed primarily on Betony (Stachys officinalis), Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Bugle (Ajuga reptans), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Red Campion (Silene dioica), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Vetches (Vicia spp.).

  Imago  

As in most species, the males emerge a few days earlier than the females, and spend much of their time searching for a mate as they fly along woodland rides and hedgerows. As well as taking nectar, males may also be seen congregating on mud or other surfaces that are rich in nutrients, giving rise to the phenomenon known as “mud puddling”.

As in many whites, an already-mated female will indicate an unwillingness to mate by holding her wings flat and her abdomen upright, making it impossible for a male to mate with her. However, this doesn’t always work, and females have been known to mate more than once, although this is completely unnecessary for the fertilisation of the eggs.

Pieris napi ssp. sabellicae

Spring Brood


Green Veined White Female (First Brood) - Crawley, Sussex 27-April-06
Photo © Vince Massimo
27-Apr-2006
Green-Veined White - imago - Hartslock - 10-May-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
10-May-2009
Green-Veined White - imago - Midgham Lakes - 14-Apr-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2009
Green-Veined White - imago - Clayton, Staffordshire - 21-Apr-09 (2) [John Wood]
Photo © John Wood
Green-Veined White - imago - Clayton, Staffordshire - 21-Apr-09 [John Wood]
Photo © John Wood
Green-veined Whites Clive Burrows [Clive Burrows]
Photo © Clive Burrows
Green-veined White - imago - Botany Bay - 14-May-10 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
14-May-2010
Green Veined White Male (First Brood) - Chaldon, Surrey 13-April-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
13-Apr-2010
Green-veined-White- 5D30056 Notts April 2014
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- 5D39052 Notts April 2014
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- 5D39362 Notts April 2014
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White Lincoln 10 April 2011- 03C9279
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White Lincoln 10 April 2011- 03C9181
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined White female, 1st brood - Mill Road Cemetery, Cambridge 20 April 2012
Photo © NickB
Green-Veined White - imago - Thatcham - 18-Apr-12 (2) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 30-Apr-12 (1) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 21-Apr-12
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green Veined White - Oxfordshire May 20th 2012.
Photo © Nigel Kiteley
20-May-2012
Green-veined White female - Norfolk Estate, Sussex 14-April-2011
Photo © Neil Hulme
15-Apr-2011
Green-veined White male, Springhead Hill, Sussex 7-May-2012
Photo © Neil Hulme
07-May-2012
Green-veined White male (first brood) - Addington, Surrey 21-May-2012
Photo © Vince Massimo
21-May-2012
Green-veined-White- 5D39784 Notts April 2014
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined White female (1st brood) - Crawley, Sussex 17-May-06
Photo © Vince Massimo
17-May-2006
Green-veined White male first brood - Solihull 04.05.2013
Photo © nfreem
04-May-2013
Green-veined white, 16 May 2013, Wrecclesham
Photo © Pauline
16-May-2013
Green-veined White female - Ashford, Kent 11-May-2013
Photo © Hoggers
11-May-2013
Green-veined White male first brood - Solihull 26.05.2013
Photo © nfreem
26-May-2013
Green-veined White Mating Pair with Female Onlooker Debdon Forest, Northumberland 26-05-2013
Photo © Graham Beckwith
26-May-2013
Green-veined White - imago - Nr. Stockbridge Down - 22-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 12-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 18-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 18-May-13-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined-White- 1DX9031 Notts May 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- 5D30989 Notts May 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Green - Veined Whites - Somerset - 03/05/14
Photo © William
03-May-2014
GVW, Longmoor, 18/04/2014
Photo © Pauline
18-Apr-2014
Green-veined White Ovipositing - Surrey - 21st - April - 2014
Photo © Maximus
21-Apr-2014
Green-veined White - Surrey - 21st - April - 2014
Photo © Maximus
21-Apr-2014
Green Veined White - Ffos-y-ffin - 16-04-2014
Photo © Wurzel
Green-veined White pair in cop. - Solihull West Midlands 18.04.2014
Photo © nfreem
23-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (freshly emerged) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (freshly emerged) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (wing detail) - Caterham, Surrey 21-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
21-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male - Caterham, Surrey 21-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
21-Apr-2014
Green - Veined White - Somerset - 03/05/14
Photo © William
03-May-2014
Green-veined White female - Solihull West Midalnds 12.05.2014
Photo © nfreem
12-May-2014
Green-veined White male - Solihull West Midlands 12.05.2014
Photo © nfreem
12-May-2014
Green-veined White, female, Chiddingfold Forest, Surrey, 26th April 2014
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Green-veined White - 18-05-2014 - Upton Country Park
Photo © Wurzel

Summer Brood


Green-Veined White - imago -  Macclesfield Forest - 11-Aug-07 [Janette Bowler]
Photo © Janette Bowler
Green Veined White Female (Summer Brood - Reared) - Caterham, Surrey 6-July-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
06-Jul-2010
Green-veined White
Photo © Charlotte Brett
Green-veined White - imago - Stockbridge Down - 20-Jul-10 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Jul-2010
Green Veined White Male (Second Brood) - Southwater Wood, Sussex 5-July-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
05-Jul-2010
Green Veined White Male (Second Brood) - Woldingham, Surrey 23-June-11
Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Jun-2011
Green Veined White Pair (Second Brood) - Woldingham, Surrey 30-June-11
Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Jun-2011
Green-veined White female (third brood) - Stanwell Moor (Middx) 19 Nov 2011
Photo © millerd
19-Nov-2011
Green-veined White female (third brood) - Stanwell Moor (Middx) 19 Nov 2011
Photo © millerd
19-Nov-2011
Green-veined White Female (Third Brood) - Chaldon, Surrey 15-Sept-11
Photo © Vince Massimo
15-Sep-2011
Green-Veined White - imago - Pamber Forest - 24-Jun-11 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White (female), Steyning (22 August 2011)
Photo © Mark Colvin
22-Aug-2011
Green-veined White (male), Steyning (22 August 2011)
Photo © Mark Colvin
22-Aug-2011
Green-veined-White Lincoln 14 August 2011- 03C9501
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- Lincoln 14 August 2011 03C8282
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White Lincoln 4 Sept 2010- 03C6490
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined white female summer brood - Oversley Wood 21.07.2012
Photo © nfreem
21-Jul-2012
Green-veined White male (Second Brood) - Chaldon, Surrey 30-July-2012
Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Jul-2012
Green-veined Whites plus friend - Fermyn Woods 18.07.2013
Photo © nfreem
18-Jul-2013
Green-veined White male - Grafton Wood 24.08.2013
Photo © nfreem
24-Aug-2013
Green-veined White male - Grafton Wood 24.08.2013
Photo © nfreem
24-Aug-2013
Green-veined White (summer brood) mating pair: Bedfont Lakes CP Middlesex 4th September 2013
Photo © millerd
04-Sep-2013
Green-veined-White- 5D38586 Lincoln Aug 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- 5D39132 Lincoln Aug 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Green-veined-White- 5D39321 Lincoln Aug 2013
Photo © IainLeach
Green-vained White, female, Chidddingfold Wood, Surrey 168 1-2 1
Photo © hideandseek
03-Sep-2013

Pieris napi ssp. thomsoni

Spring Brood


Green-veined White - East Lothian, Scotland 30-March-2012
Photo © NickMorgan
Green-Veined White - imago - Loch Cre - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]
Photo © Adrian Riley
Green-Veined White - imago - North Kessock - Unknown date [Phil Brown]
Photo © Phil Brown
Green-veined White female - Binning Wood, East Lothian 16/05/2012
Photo © NickMorgan
Presuming that this is ssp. thomsoni according to the distribution map.
Green-veined White male - Westhill, (near Aberdeen) 1-June-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Photo © Ken McHardy
01-Jun-2014
Green-veined White male - Westhill, (near Aberdeen) 1-June-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Photo © Ken McHardy
01-Jun-2014
Green-veined White male - Fishnish Wood, Isle of Mull 14-June-2014
Photo © Jack Harrison
Green-veined White male - Lochdon, Isle of Mull 14-May-2014
Photo © Jack Harrison
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14-3
Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14-4
Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2014

Summer Brood


Green-veined White - East Lothian, Scotland 8-Aug-2012
Photo © NickMorgan
Green-veined White - East Lothian, Scotland 17-Aug-2011
Photo © NickMorgan
17-Aug-2011
Green-veined White male - Forvie Sands, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire 26-July-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Photo © Ken McHardy
26-Jul-2014
Green-veined White female - Kingswells, Aberdeen 3-Aug-2014 [Ken McHardy]
Photo © Ken McHardy
03-Aug-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - female - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - female - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-5
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-6
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-7
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-8
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 17-Jul-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2014

Pieris napi ssp. britannica

Spring Brood


Green-Veined White - Male Upperside 26/04/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Photo © Dave McCormick
26-Apr-2007
Green-Veined White - Female - 09/05/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Photo © Dave McCormick
09-May-2007
Green-Veined White - Mating Pair 11/05/2008 - Whitespots Country Park, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Photo © Dave McCormick
11-May-2008
Green-Veined White - imago - Lough Georg - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]
Photo © Adrian Riley
Green-veined White - imago - Boston, Burren, Clare, Ireland - 30-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 29-May-13
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White - imago - Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 29-May-13-2
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - female -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14-3
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-May-2014
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - female -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14-4
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-May-2014
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - female -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-May-2014
Green-veined White ssp. britannica - male -Craigavon Lakes, Northern Ireland - 22-May-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
22-May-2014

Summer Brood


Green-veined White - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-50
Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013
Green-veined White - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-62
Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013

  Aberrations  

This species exhibits great variation in the colour and shade of the ground colour as well as the extent of the spotting. 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'.

This species has been the subject of much experimental breeding in the past, particularly of the impressive aberrations suphurea and fasciata. The aberration sulphurea has been recorded chiefly in Scotland and Ireland and specimens from these areas were bred en masse by entomologists 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 79 named aberrations known to occur in Britain.

Click here to see a full list of aberrations for this species.

Unclassified Aberrations


GVW - Craigs Road, Raphoe, Co. Donegal, Ireland - 15-May-14 [Stuart Dunlop]
Photo © Stuart Dunlop
Bilateral gynandromorph
15-May-2014

  Ovum  

Eggs are laid singly on the underside of a leaf of the foodplant. Small plants are preferred, and the eggs hatch in approximately a week depending on temperature. Eggs are sometimes found on the same plants as those used by the Orange-tip. However, the two species are not in competition since the Green-veined White eats the leaves of the plant, whereas the Orange-tip eats the developing seed pods.


Green-veined White - Bristol - 21-May-09
Photo © Denise
Green-Veined White - ovum - Thatcham - 12-May-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
12-May-2009
Green-Veined White - ovum - Unknown location - 2003 [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Green-Veined White - ovum - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 14-Sep-11 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White ovum - Caterham, Surrey 21-Aug-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
21-Aug-2013
Green - Veined White Ovum - Somerset - 31/05/14
Photo © William
31-May-2014
Green-veined White - ovum - Tarn Hows, Cumbria - 27-Jul-14
Photo © Pete Eeles
27-Jul-2014

  Larva  

The larva eats its eggshell on hatching, before starting to feed on the leaves of the foodplant. There are 4 moults in total and this stage lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.


Green-veined White, (early instar larva) - Bristol - 28-May-09
Photo © Denise
Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 16-May-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
16-May-2009
Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 06-Jun-09 (2) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
06-Jun-2009
Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 25-May-09 (1)
Photo © Pete Eeles
25-May-2009
Green Veined White Larva - Caterham, Surrey 27-June-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
27-Jun-2010
Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 04-Oct-11 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 04-Oct-11 (2) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White larva (third instar) - Caterham, Surrey 20-Sept-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
20-Sep-2013
Green-veined White larva (fourth instar) - Caterham, Surrey 20-Sept-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Sep-2013
Green-veined White larva (fourth instar) - Caterham, Surrey 22-Sept-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Sep-2013
Green-veined White larva (preparing to pupate) - Caterham, Surrey 1-Oct-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
01-Oct-2013
Green-veined White larva - just hatched - Surrey - 7th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
07-May-2014
Green-veined White larva - just hatched - Surrey - 7th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
07-May-2014
Green-veined White larva - 10 days old - Surrey - 17th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
17-May-2014
Green - Veined White Larva - Somerset - 31/05/14
Photo © William
31-May-2014
Green - Veined White Larva - Pupating - Somerset - 01/07/14
Photo © William
01-Jul-2014

  Pupa  

The pupa is generally formed away from the foodplant, low down in vegetation. It is supported by a silk girdle and the cremaster. The pupa has 2 colour forms, green and light brown, although some pupae have an intermediate colouring. This stage lasts around 10 days unless overwintering.


Green-Veined White - pupa - Unknown location - 2003 [REARED] [Reg Fry]
Photo © Reg Fry
Green Veined White Pupa (Reared - 2 Days Before Hatching) - Caterham, Surrey 4-July-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
04-Jul-2010
Green Veined White Pupa Female (Reared - 2 Hours Before Hatching) - Caterham, Surrey 6-July-10
Photo © Vince Massimo
06-Jul-2010
Green-Veined White - pupa - Thatcham - 07-Oct-11 (1) {REARED}
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green-veined White pupa (ssp. thomsoni) - East Lothian, Scotland 5-Jan-2012
Photo © NickMorgan
ssp. thomsoni
Green-veined White pupa (ssp. thomsoni) - East Lothian, Scotland 5-Jan-2012
Photo © NickMorgan
ssp. thomsoni
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (2 hours before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (6 hours before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (10 hours before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014
Green-veined White male (24 hours before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 18-April-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
18-Apr-2014
Green-veined White pupa (6 weeks before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 6-March-2014
Photo © Vince Massimo
06-Mar-2014
Green-veined White pupa (25 hours old)- Caterham, Surrey 3-Oct-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
03-Oct-2013
Green-veined White pupa (9 hours old)- Caterham, Surrey 2-Oct-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
02-Oct-2013
Green-veined White pupa (5 hours old)- Caterham, Surrey 2-Oct-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
02-Oct-2013
Green-veined White pupa (1 hour old)- Caterham, Surrey 2-Oct-2013
Photo © Vince Massimo
02-Oct-2013
Green-veined White pupa - 6 hours old - Surrey - 29th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
29-May-2014
Green-veined White pupa - 6 hours old - Surrey - 29th - May - 2014
Photo © Maximus
29-May-2014
Green-veined White pupa - 18 hours before emergence - Surrey - 8th - June - 2014 (Reared)
Photo © Maximus
08-Jun-2014

  Similar Species  

Large White

Description to be completed.

Orange-tip

Description to be completed.

Small White

The Green-veined White and Small White are most easily distinguished by their undersides, where the Green-veined White has pronounced markings along the veins which are absent in the Small White.


Green-veined White (left) and Small White (right)

It is much more difficult to distinguish between the Green-veined White and Small White based on the upperside, since the amount of marking is highly variable. In general, the veins of the Green-veined White are more pronounced. Also, the marking at the apex of the forewing of a Green-veined White often extends down the along the edge of the forewing and is not contiguous. The marking at the apex of a Small White never extends down the edge of the forewing and is unbroken.


Green-veined White male (left) and Small White male (right)
  Videos  

Video © Roger Wilmshurst
Green veined White female

  Sites  

Click here to see the distribution of this species overlaid with specific site information. Alternatively, select one of the sites listed below.

Sites
Aberffraw Dunes, Arthur's Seat, Ashampstead Common, Banstead Woods, Bedfont Lakes Country Park LNR, Bryncelyn Hall, Burnmouth Coast SSSI, Coldingham Bay, Cuerden Valley Park, Devil's Ditch, Durlston NNR, Eas na Circe, Fleam Dyke, Glasdrum Wood, Glen Loy, Glenarm, Glenkinnon Burn SSSI, Gordon Moss SSSI, Higher Hyde, Horsenden Hill, Hounslow Heath LNR, Kinghorn Loch Path, Latton Woods, Lavernock, Lindean Reservoir SSSI, Linn Dean, Mansmead wood, Meanwood Park, Midgham Lakes, Mill Hill, Moors Valley Country Park, Morgaston Wood, Moss Field, Mynydd Marian, Nupend Wood, Old Down, Basingstoke, Rookery, Roudsea Wood NNR, Ryton Woods Meadows, Spean Bridge, St Abbs Head, Strumpshaw Fen, Sutton Bingham Reservoir, Thurso, Tophill Low, Viking Field/LesleySears, Whitlaw Mosses NNR, Winsdon Hill

  Conservation Status  

This is the most widespread butterfly in the British Isles and its status is considered relative-stable. It is not, therefore, a species of conservation concern.

UK BAP StatusDistribution Trend (%)Population Trend (%)
Not ListedStable-3Stable-9

The table above shows the distribution and population trends of species regularly found in the British Isles. The distribution trend represents a comparison between data for the periods 1995-1999 and 2005-2009. The information provided is taken from the Butterfly Conservation report The State of the UK's Butterflies 2011. The UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).


  Links  

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

  References  

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Bowden (1970) Bowden, S.R.: Pieris napi L.: Speciation and Subspeciation (Lep., Pieridae). Proceedings and Transactions of the British Entomological and Natural History Society. 1970.
Bowden (1975) Bowden, S.R.: Some Subspecific and Infrasubspecific Names in Pieris napi L. (Lep.: Pieridae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. 1975.
Chalmers-Hunt (1970) Chalmers-Hunt, J.M.: The Butterflies and Moths of the Isle of Man. Transactions of the Society for British Entomology. 1970.
Dennis (1977) Dennis, R.L.H.: The British Butterflies - Their Origin and Establishment. 1977.
Dennis & Shreeve (1996) Dennis, R.L.H and Shreeve, T.G.: Butterflies on British and Irish Offshore Islands. 1996.
Esper (1777) Esper, E.J.C: Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. 1777.
Ford (1945) Ford, E.B.: Butterflies. Edn.1. 1945.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C.: Systema Naturae. Edn.10. 1758.
Müller & Kautz (1939) Müller, L. and Kautz, H.: Pieris bryoniae O. und Pieris napi L.. Abhandlungen des Österreichischen Entomologen-Vereines. 1939.
Stephens (1828) Stephens, J.E.: Illustrations of British Entomology (Haustellata Vol.1). 1828.
Thomson (1970-1) Thomson, G.: The Distribution and Nature of Pieris napi thomsoni Warren (Lep. Pieridae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. 1970.
Verity (1905-1911) Verity, R.: Rhopalocera Palaearctica, Iconographie et Description des Papillons diurnes de la région paléarctique. Papilionidae et Pieridae. 1905-1911.
Verity (1916) Verity, R.: The British Races of Butterflies: their relationships and nomenclature. Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. 1916.
Warren (1967) Warren, B.C.S.: Supplementary Data on the Androconial Scales of some Holarctic species of Pieris (Lepidoptera). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. 1967.
Warren (1968) Warren, B.C.S.: On an instable race of Pieris adalwinda, located in Scotland. Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. 1968.

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