Black-veined White

Aporia crataegi (a-POOR-ee-uh kra-TEE-jee)

Black-Veined White - imago - Thatcham - 20-May-06 (0130) [REARED]
Photo © Pete Eeles

69 - 76mm

Checklist Number

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:PierinaeDuponchel, 1835
Tribe:PieriniSwainson, 1820
Genus:AporiaHübner, [1819]
Species:crataegi(Linnaeus, 1758)

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First listed as a British species in 1667, this large butterfly became extinct in the British Isles around 1925 with its last remaining stronghold in the south-east of England. This species was always considered a rarity in the British Isles by early entomologists, although it is often very common on the continent.

This species forms discrete colonies that fluctuate greatly in numbers, although the cause of the ultimate demise of this species in the British Isles is a mystery since its foodplants can be found in abundance in all of its former sites. Disease (fostered by poor autumn weather), relatively-mild winters and increased predation by birds have all been suggested as potential causes of this demise. There was a successful reintroduction in Fife, Scotland, although this was only able to survive with appropriate protection of the larvae from birds. This species is extinct in the British Isles. This species was concentrated primarily in the southern half of England and south Wales. The strongholds were in Kent (which held 40 colonies), Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Sussex.

Aporia crataegi

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Sweden).

Black-Veined White - imago - Gola del Infernaccio, Monti Sibillini, Italy - 16-Jun-08 (2)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black Veined White - Spain - 21 June 2012

Male Underside
Photo © Nigel Kiteley

Black-Veined White - imago - Lauenensee, Lauenen, Switzerland - 10-Jul-11

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - imago - Stockbridge Down - 27-Jul-07 [Neil Hulme]

Female Underside
Photo © Neil Hulme

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Conservation Status

No conservation action is relevant for this species.


Early records of this species showed that it occurred in orchards, lanes, gardens, meadows and wherever its foodplants occurred in abundance.


1.1 Extinct

This species is extinct in the British Isles.

Life Cycle

In the British Isles, this species emerged in late June, peaked in July and survived into August. This butterfly has one generation each year.


An interesting characteristic of this species is that the female, by rubbing her wings together, loses many of her scales, resulting in an almost-transparent look when compared with the white wings of the male. The purpose of this behaviour remains a mystery.

Description of nectar sources to be completed.

Photo Album ...


Eggs are laid in batches of between 100 and 200, generally on the underside of a leaf of the foodplant. Eggs are bright yellow when first laid, darkening after a few days. The eggs hatch in 2 to 3 weeks, depending on temperature.

Black-Veined White - ovum - Thatcham - 15-May-05 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Female Black-veined White with ova - 3 June 2013 - Alpes-Maritimes

Photo © CFB


Photo © Tony Moore
Near Silves, Portugal. 04.05.14.

Black-veined White eggs A. crataegi 22.07.2014 Provence [Lynn Fomison]

Photo © Lynn Fomison

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The larva eats the majority of its eggshell on hatching before joining a communal larval web. Groups of larvae leave the web to feed side by side but remain within the web through the winter while still very small, in the 3rd instar. After emerging in the spring, the larvae continue this pattern of communal living, continuing to forage in groups. Larvae are particularly sensitive and will drop from the foodplant if disturbed.

As the larvae grow, they tend to form smaller groups that form sub-communities, each group creating their own web on which to rest. Ultimately, the gregarious behaviour is abandoned, and the fully-grown larvae disperse to feed individually prior to pupation.

The primary larval foodplants are Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Hawthorns (various) (Crataegus spp.).

Black-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 17-Apr-06 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 15-Apr-06 (2) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 15-Apr-06 (5) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - larva - Thatcham - 15-Apr-06 (9) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

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The pupa is attached to a stem of the foodplant by a silk girdle and the cremaster and is often quite conspicuous and easy to find. This stage typically lasts around 3 weeks, depending on temperature.

Black-Veined White - pupa - Gola del Infernaccio, Monti Sibillini, Italy - 16-Jun-08 (2)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - pupa - Gola del Infernaccio, Monti Sibillini, Italy - 16-Jun-08 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - pupa - Gola del Infernaccio, Monti Sibillini, Italy - 17-Jun-08 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Black-Veined White - pupa - Thatcham - 13-May-06 (0116) [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Photo Album ...


Description to be completed.

Click here to see the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

Similar Species

No similar species found.


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The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.


The species description provided here references the following publications:

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.
Hübner (1819) Hübner, J. (1819) Verzeichniss bekannter Schmettlinge.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C. (1758) Systema Naturae. Edition 10.
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).