notpop's picture

Small White

Observed: 12th April 2012 By: notpopnotpop’s reputation in Invertebratesnotpop’s reputation in Invertebratesnotpop’s reputation in Invertebratesnotpop’s reputation in Invertebrates
pic 1
pic 2

pic 2 might suggest green veined white ?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Small White (Pieris rapae) interacts


KelsaeJohn's picture

Small or Green-veined?

Hello George, your new (second) pic does show a hint of green on the underside of the wing. However, I still think it seems a wee bit early for G-v White (normally April and June) They also tend to be associated with Hedge & Garlic Mustard and other similar plants in the cabbage family - very few of which are in flower yet - at least around here, and I can't imagine the season will be any earlier where you are. Having said all that, I am not 100% certain but there is nothing I can do about that now!

notpop's picture


Hi John,In the flesh I couldn't see any dark spots or wing tips so the lack of these in the pics is maybe correct.
However as you can see from the snatched nature of the pics it was a very actively patrolling male
Though it came back several times,it rarely stopped for long.

DavidHowdon's picture


To my eye the second picture makes it clear this is Small White. The underwing shown is yellow-green as SW would be, without the dark veins that GVW would show.

KelsaeJohn's picture

Small or Green-veined?

Thanks for that David. I started thinking about the absence of vein markings later on last night. At the time I made my comments, I put the lack of markings down to the overexposure in the pics (sorry George - no offence intended!) We have seen quite a few pictures lately where camera exposure and/or the effects of light can cause confusion which is why I used other factors to come to my decision.

notpop's picture

Hi Guys

I think the thing that led me to GVW was behaviour rather than markings.
It was definitely regularly patrolling a 100m section of verge .
My books describe this as male GVW behaviour but I do not see it mentioned for SW ?
Do SW male patrol set beats ?

KelsaeJohn's picture

SW behaviour

Hi George, I'm afraid I cannot answer your question specifically, all I know is that they are extremely active and like to fly all day. They are certainly every bit as fast/active as Gvw's as I know from recent experience. Three weeks ago I saw my first SW of the year and was very keen to get a photograph but found it quite impossible! the thing did not stop for more than a couple of seconds at a time. (Incidentally, when I think about it, it too flew backwards and forwards along a short stretch of grass at the base of a high wall.) They are basically diurnal in nature and are not active at dawn or dusk. It may well be that the stretch of verge you refer to held some of its preferred food-plants. It might be worth another look and see what plants you can find.
All the best


notpop's picture


Thanks John,Coming round to agreeing it is SW.
The behaviour you describe is very similar to this case.
Also,thinking about conditions,the wall was simultaneously a sun trap and wind shadow which is why I had gone to search there in the first place.
Perhaps the insect was not so much patrolling a territory as just turning back each time it was faced with more exposed conditions.
Also agree the underwing markings are not strong enough for even a pale GVW.
So..Small White it is !
Many thanks to