Subfamily: Coliadinae

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:ColiadinaeSwainson, 1820
Type Genus:ColiasFabricius, 1807


Family: Pieridae

The Pieridae are found in all zoogeographical regions and comprise approximately 2,000 species, most of which are bivoltine. Adult butterflies are typically of a moderate size and exhibit sexual dimorphism. All butterflies are mostly white or yellow in colour and newly-emerged adults may give off a faint perfume.

Antennae are half the length of the forewing and are slender, with a small and straight club. Eyes are smooth and the labial palps are larger than the head, projecting outward or slightly upward. All legs are fully-functional in both sexes, each with a pair of claws.

Highslide JSHighslide JS

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Photo © William Langdon

Small White (Pieris rapae)
Photo © Vince Massimo

The forewing has between 10 and 12 veins, with veins 7, 8 and 9 occasionally coincident. Androconial scales are usually present on the forewing upperside. The hindwing has 2 anal veins. The cell is closed in both forewing and hindwing.

Highslide JS

Small White (Pieris rapae)
Photo © Timothy Freed, whose original drawing is shown in Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Emmet & Heath, 1989)

Eggs are characteristic in being tall, bottle-shaped and strongly ribbed. Larvae are usually green and are relatively smooth, without spines and only short insignificant hair. The pupa typically has a pointed head and is secured in an upright position, supported by a silken thoracic girdle and also by the cremaster to a silken pad.

Subfamily: Coliadinae

Description to be completed.


This subfamily is represented by the following tribes:


This subfamily is represented by the following genera:


This subfamily is represented by the species shown below.

Clouded Yellow. 25/09/2009. Beachy Head, Sussex.

Clouded Yellow
Colias croceus
Photo © badgerbob

Moorland Clouded Yellow, Poland

Moorland Clouded Yellow
Colias palaeno
Photo © False Apollo

Pale Clouded Yellow male - Switzerland 15-Aug-2013

Pale Clouded Yellow
Colias hyale
Photo © Padfield

Berger's Clouded Yellow (male) - Alpes-Maritimes - 3 July 2014

Berger's Clouded Yellow
Colias alfacariensis
Photo © CFB

Brimstone male - Coulsdon, Surrey 12-Aug-2012

Gonepteryx rhamni
Photo © Vince Massimo

Cleopatra (male) - Alpes-Maritimes - 7 June 2015

Gonepteryx cleopatra
Photo © CFB