|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Pieris rapae from Fleeting Memories From Summer -06, a female - 2 big black spots on the uppersides! - savouring Cirsium arvense, "Creeping Thistle".|
Family: Pieridae, 5 families worldwide of which 4 are represented in the Nordic countires. Pieridae, with white and/or yellow colouration, black marks/areas and sexual dismorphism, is the third largest of them, with 3 subfamilies in the Nordic countries:
1. Coliadinae, with 2 genera and 7 species (Colias alfaricensis only in Dk),
2. Dismorphiinae, 1 genus and 2 species,
3. Pierinae, 4 genera and 8 species (Pontia chloridice and callidice only Fi). The larvae of several species are disgusting to predators in that they accumulate mustard oil from their Brassicaceae-hosts. The white colour in these butterflies, along with the combination of grey, white and yellow colours with fine black dots in the larvae and pupae, also present in species of other families and suprafamilies, is suspected to be a common widespread pattern of warning, so called "Müllerian mimicry".
Subfamily: Pierinae, "Whites" with 4 genera in the Nordic countries:
3. Pieris, which comprises white butterflies with greyish-black apices on the forewings and usually a couple of dark spots in the middle of the wings. Their flight is slow and straight with no glidings. To this genus belong some of the most noxious ones among Rhopalocera around the world, above all in the temperate zones, and worst in North America where it was introduced. There are about 30 species worldwide, 6 in Europe and 3 in the Nordic countries.
Genus: Pieris, "Whites", in the Nordic countries 3 species:
1. P. brassicae, whose larvae obtain protection from predators by obtaining distasteful mustard oils from their foodplants. The parasitic wasp Apanteles glomeratus helps to reduce their devastating progress however,
2. P. napi,
3. P. rapae, Small White (Cabbage White in Am. Eng.) doesn't store the mustard oils from its foodplants like the Large W. and is not as distasteful to predators like birds - which curbs their ravages somewhat.
For names in most European vernaculars, distribution maps, etc., European Butterflies is recommended.
Swedish: "Rovefjäril" should read "Rovfjäril".
1: Nationalnyckeln till Sveriges flora och fauna: Fjärilar - Dagfjärilar. Hesperiidae - Nymphalidae (2005),
2: Bo Söderström: Svenska fjärilar. En fälthandbok (2006).
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