Subfamily: Pierinae

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:PierinaeDuponchel, 1835
Type Genus:PierisSchrank, 1801


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.

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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.

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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: Pierinae

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.

Orange Tip male - Castle Hills Solihull 19.04.2014

Anthocharis cardamines
Photo © Neil Freeman

Western Dappled White - Alpes-Maritimes - 30 May 2012

Dappled White
Euchloe simplonia
Photo © CFB

Black-Veined White - imago - Thatcham - 20-May-06 (0130) [REARED]

Black-veined White
Aporia crataegi
Photo © Pete Eeles

Large White female - Caterham, Surrey 29-April-2014

Large White
Pieris brassicae
Photo © Vince Massimo

Small White male - Solihull West Midlands 21.04.2014

Small White
Pieris rapae
Photo © Neil Freeman

Green-veined White male - Solihull West Midlands 12.05.2014

Green-veined White
Pieris napi
Photo © Neil Freeman

Bath White male -  Vitrolles, France 9-Mar-2016

Bath White
Pontia daplidice
Photo © Chris Jackson