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Mustard White Pieris napi


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Green Veined White
credit: Dave Dunford

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Family: Pieridae, Whites and Sulphurs view all from this family

Description The Mustard White (Pieris oleracea) is a butterfly in the Pieridae family. Its historical range is in the great lakes area of the United States and southern Canada. The caterpillars feed on brassica type plants and the adults feed on flower nectar. Some authors consider oleracea to be a subspecies of the Green-veined White, Pieris napi, of Eurasia.

The Green-veined White, Pieris napi, of Eurasia is a circumboreal species widespread across Europe and Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, Japan and the Maghreb and North America (Many authors consider the Mustard White of North America to be conspecific with napi or consider napi to be a superspecies).

It is found in meadows, hedgerows and woodland glades but not as often in gardens and parks like its close relatives the Large and Small Whites, for which it is often mistaken. Like other "white" butterflies, the sexes differ. The female has two spots on each forewing, the male only one. The veins on wings of the female are usually more heavily marked.

The underside hindwings are pale yellow with the veins highlighted by black scales giving a greenish tint, hence Green-veined White. Unlike these two butterflies it rarely chooses garden cabbages to lay its eggs on, preferring wild crucifers.

Dimensions 1 1/2-1 5/8" (32-41 mm).

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Meadows & fields, Cities, suburbs & towns, Freshwater swamps, marshes & bogs.

Range California, Northwest, New England, Eastern Canada, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Western Canada.