Cabbage White Butterfly

(Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White Butterfly, Western AustraliaThe Cabbage White butterfly  is commonly found throughout Australia after being accidently introduced from Europe in the 1920's. The Cabbage White Butterfly has a black body with white wings and each wing has black spots near its centre. The sex of the Cabbage White butterflies can be easily determined as the female has two dark spots mid-wing and the male has only one. The first official recording of the Cabbage White in Australia was made in Melbourne in 1929. The Cabbage White caterpillars are silky green and are considered to be a serious agricultural pest. They tunnel into the interior of vegetables such as cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips and other plants found in vegetable gardens, to feed. Two species of braconid wasps were introduced into Australia as a biological control agent to help reduce the butterfly numbers. The wasps have helped considerably in the reduction of these pests. The female Cabbage White butterflies lays her eggs on vegetable plants. The caterpillars feed from under the leaf before tunneling into the plants centre.