Nature Table: The Small White Butterfly

This hasn’t been a good summer for butterflies, largely because of the weather, but there are many small whites about.

This species is double-brooded here and those on the wing now belong to the second brood, which tend to be more numerous. Numbers are augmented most years by migration across the Irish Sea. Females have two black spots on the upper surface of the fore wing and males one. The under side of the hind wing has a yellowish tinge.

They can be mistaken for female orange tips or green-veined whites but there are distinguishing features. They have been declining recently so it’s good to see healthy numbers this year. The small white can be a garden pest laying its eggs on leaves of the cabbage family, turnips and nasturtiums where the green caterpillars with black spots and a yellow line down the back can do much damage.


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