Butterfly Cabbage: photos and descriptions, habitat and food

In our latitudes, everyone knows the cabbage soup butterfly, which is also known as the white-haired moth. She is associated with spring. It may seem that this sweet creature is absolutely safe, but those who are engaged in the garden, perceive this butterfly only as a pest.

Botanical description and characteristics of the wings

Kapustnitsa is a daylight representative of the family of whitefish. The front wings have a length of 25 to 33 mm. Span - from 4.9 to 6.2 cm in males, in females - up to 6.3 cm.

The color of the wings of the cabbage butterfly is yellowish-white, with slight black splashes; spots on the outer upper corner and in the middle are located on the front wings. On the rear wings - interspersed in the middle, the bottom is yellow.

When touching the wings, the pollen is peeling off, and they lose their color. The very same pollen of the wings is represented by the smallest scales, which lie tightly on the wing and overlap each other, like laying tiles. For this reason, butterflies are classified as lepidoptera.

The insect is very well developed vision and smell, which allows him to accurately determine the edible plant. On the head almost all the space occupied by the eyes. Insect whiskers are long and have a thickening at the tips, which are also involved in the process of recognizing edible plants.

A butterfly spreads its pollen on its wings by pollinating the plants. Therefore, the insect is not only harmful, but also beneficial.

Female moths are larger than males. In the female, the bottom of the wing is always more yellow, which is especially pronounced in the second generation.

butterfly on a flower


The cabbage butterfly is distinguished by a shaggy body, very similar to that of the May beetle. Consists of three departments:

  • abdomen;
  • head;
  • chest with accreteable segments.

The butterfly has three pairs of legs, at the end of each of which are very sharp claws, which allow you to stay on trees and plants.

Like the rest of the butterflies, the cabbage plant has developed only a pair of lower chitinous jaws, which can gnaw through even the cabbage leaf.

Butterfly structure


Whitefish is widely represented in Eastern Europe and North Africa. Present in Asia and eastern Japan, where the climate is temperate.In the 90s of the last century was seen in the Southern Primorye. It occurs even north of the Arctic Circle. It is clearly established that these are migratory individuals.

In Chile, South America and Panama appeared solely because of globalization, that is, it was imported. But still, the butterfly is more common in the north, where it is not so hot.

A cabbage butterfly prefers meadows and forest edges, park areas and gardens. It survives well in the forest belts and where people live, but subject to the availability of crucifers.

butterfly structure

Cabbage lifestyle

Whitefish is a very active insect, migrates a lot. Cabbage soup is most active from April to mid-October. If the insect region is warm enough, then it can produce up to three offspring in a season.

At night, the butterfly does not fly, it is completely day resident. The peak of activity falls on warmer days when there is no rain. The insect does not like windy weather.

It is believed that the white-haul greatly damages gardeners. In fact, adults are more beneficial than harm when pollinating plants.

Stages of development: description

A cabbage butterfly develops in the same way as all insects with a complete transformation cycle, which occurs in 4 stages:

  • egg;
  • larva or caterpillar;
  • pupa;
  • adult or imago.

Scientists in the last century noticed one interesting feature of the insect - the butterfly very carefully treats its offspring. The female never makes laying on the leaves, where the eggs have already been laid by another individual. It is assumed that the butterfly by smell determines that the leaf is already taken.

Stage of the egg

The reproduction frequency of the butterfly depends on the temperature conditions. The warmer, the more frequent reproduction occurs, in general, from two to three times. In light of this, egg-laying can occur from April to September.

The female after mating lays about 200 or more eggs. The first laying is made on wild plants. But already 2 and 3 masonry can be made on cultivated plants in the gardens of summer residents.

butterfly larvae


The caterpillar of the cabbage butterfly appears at about the end of the first or second week, depending on the atmospheric temperature.

The laying of eggs at the butterfly begins on day 5-7 from the first day of summer. She lays yellow eggs in large groups. So that they do not suffer, the butterfly puts them on the bottom of the sheet. On one sheet can be up to 300 eggs.

The larvae of eggs appear fairly quickly, about 16 days. Kids look very similar to worms.

The caterpillar is distinguished by a yellowish-greenish color with black specks. She has three pigments: green, black and white. Depending on where she lives, the color varies somewhat. For example, if it lives on light leaves, then the pigment brightens and darkens in the dark. The largest individuals reach 3.5 centimeters.

At first, as soon as the small caterpillars hatch, they hold as much in the heap as they were in laying, until they get stronger, and only then crawl away. Most often they settle on the lower part of the leaves and actively eat them.

The larvae that hatched late are settled on the top of the leaf and can climb inside the head of cabbage or the stem of the cabbage.

In the pupal stage, the butterfly lasts from 14 to 40 days.

For normal growth and development of the caterpillar requires a temperature of +20 to +25 degrees. If it is very hot, and even a lot of rain, the larvae will massively die.

Cabbage caterpillar

Baby doll

What does a cabbage butterfly look like in a pupa stage? The color is almost the same as that of a butterfly - yellowish-green with black splashes.

When moving to the pupal stage, the larva is wrapped with threads that resemble something silk, and they also cling to the plants.

If the folding into the pupa happened not too late, then a butterfly is soon born.If the atmospheric temperature does not allow transformation, then the insect enters the stage of diapause and so winters. With the onset of spring, these insects begin years with the first generation.

For your information, diapause is the process of inhibition of the physiological processes in an insect with the transition to the stage of anabiosis.

In this stage the insect is a few weeks. During this period, the pupa molts several times, and this process is called complete transformation.


Considering the photo of the butterfly cabbage, it is hard to understand how this insect still eats and, most importantly, what.

Gardeners will surely say that the white-haired loves cabbage very much and causes enormous damage to the heads of the plant. However, in the diet of the insect is present not only cabbage. The butterfly likes swede, capers, canola, horseradish, radishes and radishes. It can consume mustard, nasturtium and even garlic.

Naturally, for those who cultivate the land, the whitefish is a real misfortune. Insects penetrate into the head of cabbage and continuously eat the leaves. The butterfly is so gluttonous that it can completely destroy the entire crop.

In the wild, the butterfly feeds on chamomile, coltsfoot, dandelion, and alfalfa.

butterfly in everyday life

Natural enemies

In addition to man, the cabbage butterfly has a natural enemy among insects - the beetle-rider. The beetle is quite cruel. He lays his larvae in the butterfly cocoon. As a result, the beetle larva eats the butterfly. In some years, the mass death of butterflies due to the beetle was noted. The population in such cases is replenished by the migration of insects from other regions.

Almost all birds are not averse to eat butterflies.

Crop Hazards and Controls

In the majority of literature related to the cultivation of vegetables, the description and photo of butterfly cabbage is on the pest description pages. Indeed, in some cases, if you do not take measures to combat insects, you can completely lose the harvest. And not only cabbage.

The butterfly is most gluttonous at the caterpillar stage. If you do not take action, then it can eat most of the seedlings. In cases where the caterpillars are not noticeable, you can understand what a pest is in the garden, by what the leaves look like. From them are only streaks.

Larvae can also become provocateurs for plant diseases, the same cabbage, radish and mustard.A butterfly can be damaged by any cruciferous plant. The disease appears on the background of the fact that between the leaves of the plants there are particles of caterpillar excrement, which cause diseases.

If the pests in the garden a little, then they are best collected manually. It is also quite easy to see the eggs on the underside of the leaves, which can also be collected by hand.

cabbage after butterfly

An effective method of getting rid of cabbage is considered a popular method - spraying leaves with a valerian setting. Three liters of ordinary water will require only 50 ml of tincture.

Before tying a head of cabbage, you can use chemical and biological preparations, in particular “Fitoverm”. Naturally, these drugs are more effective than collecting by hand, but they are unacceptable in organic farming. In addition, if you use the "chemistry" for spraying after the appearance of the head of cab, most of them will accumulate in it.

If the problem is critical in the garden, then it is better to use three methods at once. Naturally, it should be at least periodically inspect the leaves for damage by the moth. It is recommended to follow the rules of planting plants so that the insect does not have the opportunity to simply jump from plant to plant. This refers to cruciferous species.

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