Green-veined White

Pieris napi (PEE-err-iss NAY-py)

Green-veined White male - Solihull West Midlands 12.05.2014
Photo © Neil Freeman
 

Wingspan
40 - 52mm

Checklist Number
58.008

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:PierinaeDuponchel, 1835
Tribe:PieriniSwainson, 1820
Genus:PierisSchrank, 1801
Subgenus:  
Species:napi(Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies:sabellicae (Stephens, 1827)
 britannica Müller & Kautz, 1939
 thomsoni Warren, 1968

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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 (1970b) 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. Similarly, Müller & Kautz (1939) described the spring generation of the Irish subspecies, ssp. britannica, as f. britannica using the name f. irica for the summer 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 (1827) 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, 1827)

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 male - Solihull West Midlands 09.05.2015

Male
Photo © Neil Freeman

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

Photo Album ...


Summer Brood

Green-veined White male - Grafton Wood 24.08.2013

Male
Photo © Neil Freeman

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 © Neil Freeman

Green-veined White (female), Steyning (22 August 2011)

Female Underside
Photo © Mark Colvin

Photo Album ...


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

Photo Album ...


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

Photo Album ...


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. Aldwell & Smyth (2015) note that "In Donegal the range colour is extensive and some specimens seem closer to the Scottish form".

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

Photo Album ...


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 - female - Glasdrum Wood - 17-Aug-15

Female
Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - female - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Jul-14-2

Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Photo Album ...


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 Listed
Stable-3
Stable-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).

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.

Distribution

 

Click here to see the distribution of this species or here to see the distribution of this species together with specific site information overlaid.

Life Cycle

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. britannica

Pieris napi ssp. thomsoni

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.

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.

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.).

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 spring brood female - Solihull West Midlands 15.05.2015

Photo © Neil Freeman
15-May-2015

Green-veined White female (1st brood) - Crawley, Sussex 17-May-06

Photo © Vince Massimo
17-May-2006

Green-veined White male (freshly emerged) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White - imago - Thatcham - 18-May-13-2

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White male first brood - Solihull 26.05.2013

Photo © Neil Freeman
26-May-2013

GVW, Longmoor, 18/04/2014

Photo © Pauline
18-Apr-2014

Green-veined White - Surrey - 21st - April - 2014

Photo © Maximus
21-Apr-2014

Green-veined White male - Solihull West Midlands 09.05.2015

Photo © Neil Freeman
09-May-2015

Green-veined White Mating Pair with Female Onlooker Debdon Forest, Northumberland 26-05-2013

Photo © Graham Beckwith
26-May-2013

Green-veined White - imago - Greenham Common - 18-May-13

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White female (1st brood) - Crawley, Sussex 17-May-06

Photo © Vince Massimo
17-May-2006

Green-veined Whites Clive Burrows [Clive Burrows]

Photo © Clive Burrows

Green-veined-White Lincoln 10 April 2011- 03C9181

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined-White- 5D39052 Notts April 2014

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined White pair in cop. - Solihull West Midlands 18.04.2014

Photo © Neil Freeman
23-Apr-2014

Green-Veined White - imago - Midgham Lakes - 14-Apr-09 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2009

Green-veined White - male - Woolhampton Gravel Pits - 14-Apr-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2014

Green-Veined White - imago - Clayton, Staffordshire - 21-Apr-09 [John Wood]

Photo © John Wood

Green Veined White - Ffos-y-ffin - 16-04-2014

Photo © Wurzel

Photo Album ...


Summer Brood

Green-veined White male (Second Brood) - Chaldon, Surrey 30-July-2012

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-Jul-2012

Green-veined-White- Lincoln 14 August 2011 03C8282

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined-White- 5D39132 Lincoln Aug 2013

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined White Female (Third Brood) - Chaldon, Surrey 15-Sept-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
15-Sep-2011

Green-veined-White Lincoln 4 Sept 2010- 03C6490

Photo © IainLeach

Green Veined Whites 'puddling' at Tunstall Reservoir 24-July-2014.

Photo © Michael A
24-Jul-2014

Green-veined White

Photo © Charlotte Brett

Green-veined-White Lincoln 12 August 2010- 03C7401

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined-White Lincoln 6 August 2011- 03C6088

Photo © IainLeach

Green Veined White Female (Summer Brood - Reared) - Caterham, Surrey 6-July-10

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-Jul-2010

Green-Veined White - imago -  Macclesfield Forest - 11-Aug-07 [Janette Bowler]

Photo © Janette Bowler

Green-veined White (mating pair) Stanwell Moor Middlesex 27th August 2015

Photo © millerd
27-Aug-2015

Green-veined White (female), Steyning (22 August 2011)

Photo © Mark Colvin
22-Aug-2011

Green-veined-White- 5D38586 Lincoln Aug 2013

Photo © IainLeach

Green-veined White - imago - Stockbridge Down - 20-Jul-10 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Jul-2010

Green Veined White Male (Second Brood) - Woldingham, Surrey 23-June-11

Photo © Vince Massimo
23-Jun-2011

Green-veined White male - Grafton Wood 24.08.2013

Photo © Neil Freeman
24-Aug-2013

Green-veined White female (third brood) - Stanwell Moor (Middx) 19 Nov 2011

Photo © millerd
19-Nov-2011

Green-Veined White - imago - Pamber Forest - 24-Jun-11 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White (male), Steyning (22 August 2011)

Photo © Mark Colvin
22-Aug-2011

Photo Album ...


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

Photo Album ...


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

Photo Album ...


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

Photo Album ...


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

Green-veined White - female - Glasdrum Wood - 17-Aug-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Aug-2015

Green-veined White - female - Glasdrum Wood - 17-Aug-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Aug-2015

Photo Album ...


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

GVW ovum - Found at Aqualate Mere SSSI, Salop. 09/08/14

Photo © Tony Moore
09-Sep-2014

GVW ova - found near Newport, Salop.10/09/14. Two of three eggs on one cress leaf...

Photo © Tony Moore
09-Sep-2014

Photo Album ...


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.

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.

Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 04-Oct-11 (2) {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White larva (1st instar) - Crawley, Sussex 11-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
11-May-2015

Green-veined White larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green - Veined White Larva - Pupating - Somerset - 01/07/14

Photo © William
01-Jul-2014

Green-veined White larva preparing to pupate - Crawley, Sussex 29-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
29-May-2015

Green-veined White larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White, (early instar larva) - Bristol - 28-May-09

Photo © Denise

Green-veined White larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White larva - just hatched - Surrey - 7th - May - 2014

Photo © Maximus
07-May-2014

Green-veined White larva (3rd instar, pre-moult) - Crawley, Sussex 24-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-May-2015

Green-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 04-Oct-11 (1) {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White larva (2nd instar, moulting) - Crawley, Sussex 20-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
20-May-2015

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 pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White larva (newly emerged 4th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 24-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
24-May-2015

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 22-Sept-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
22-Sep-2013

Photo Album ...


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 - 18 hours before emergence - Surrey - 8th - June - 2014 (Reared)

Photo © Maximus
08-Jun-2014

Green-veined White pupa (25 hours old)- Caterham, Surrey 3-Oct-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
03-Oct-2013

Green-veined White pupa (3 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 10-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
10-Jun-2015

Green-veined White pupa (9 hours old)- Caterham, Surrey 2-Oct-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
02-Oct-2013

Green-veined White pupa (27 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 9-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
09-Jun-2015

Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White pupa (72 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 7-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
07-Jun-2015

Green-Veined White - pupa - Thatcham - 07-Oct-11 (1) {REARED}

Photo © Pete Eeles

Green-veined White pupa (freshly emerged) - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White pupa (ssp. thomsoni) - East Lothian, Scotland 5-Jan-2012

Photo © NickMorgan
ssp. thomsoni

Green-veined White pupa (1 hour old) - Crawley, Sussex 30-May-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
30-May-2015

Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White pupa (1 hour old)- Caterham, Surrey 2-Oct-2013

Photo © Vince Massimo
02-Oct-2013

Green-veined White male emerging - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White pupa (1 hour before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 10-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
10-Jun-2015

Green-veined White male (10 hours before emerging) - Caterham, Surrey 19-April-2014

Photo © Vince Massimo
19-Apr-2014

Green-veined White emerging - Crawley, Sussex 10-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
10-Jun-2015

Green-veined White pupa (6 days old) - Crawley, Sussex 6-June-2015

Photo © Vince Massimo
06-Jun-2015

Green-veined White pupa (ssp. thomsoni) - East Lothian, Scotland 5-Jan-2012

Photo © NickMorgan
ssp. thomsoni

Photo Album ...


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 the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

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


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The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Aldwell & Smyth (2015) Aldwell, R. & Smyth, F. (2015) The Butterflies of Donegal.
Bowden (1970) Bowden, S.R. (1970) Pieris napi L.: Speciation and Subspeciation (Lep., Pieridae). Proceedings and Transactions of the British Entomological and Natural History Society.
Bowden (1975) Bowden, S.R. (1975) Some Subspecific and Infrasubspecific Names in Pieris napi L. (Lep.: Pieridae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
Chalmers-Hunt (1970) Chalmers-Hunt, J.M. (1970) The Butterflies and Moths of the Isle of Man. Transactions of the Society for British Entomology.
Dennis (1977) Dennis, R.L.H. (1977) The British Butterflies - Their Origin and Establishment.
Dennis & Shreeve (1996) Dennis, R.L.H and Shreeve, T.G. (1996) Butterflies on British and Irish Offshore Islands.
Duponchel (1835) Duponchel, P.A.J. (1835) Histoire naturelle des lépidoptères ou papillons de France, par M. J.-B. Godart. Continuée par P.-A.-J. Duponchel. Diurnes. Supplément aux tomes premier et deuxième.
Esper (1777) Esper, E.J.C (1777) Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen.
Ford (1945) Ford, E.B. (1945) Butterflies.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C. (1758) Systema Naturae. Edition 10.
Müller & Kautz (1939) Müller, L. and Kautz, H. (1939) Pieris bryoniae O. und Pieris napi L.. Abhandlungen des Österreichischen Entomologen-Vereines.
Schrank (1801) Schrank, F. (1801) Fauna boica. Durchgedachte Geschichte der in Baiern einheimschen und zahmen Thiere.
Stephens (1827) Stephens, J.E. (1827) Illustrations of British Entomology (Haustellata Vol.1).
Swainson (1820) Swainson, W. (1820) Zoological illustrations, or Original figures and descriptions of new, rare, or interesting animals : selected chiefly from the classes of ornithology, entomology, and conchology, and arranged on the principles of Cuvier and other modern zoologists (Vol.1).
Thomson (1970b) Thomson, G. (1970) The Distribution and Nature of Pieris napi thomsoni Warren (Lep. Pieridae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
Verity (1905-1911) Verity, R. (1905-1911) Rhopalocera Palaearctica, Iconographie et Description des Papillons diurnes de la région paléarctique. Papilionidae et Pieridae.
Verity (1916) Verity, R. (1916) The British Races of Butterflies: their relationships and nomenclature. Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
Warren (1967) Warren, B.C.S. (1967) Supplementary Data on the Androconial Scales of some Holarctic species of Pieris (Lepidoptera). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
Warren (1968) Warren, B.C.S. (1968) On an instable race of Pieris adalwinda, located in Scotland. Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.