Small White Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Superfamily: Papilionoidea Family: Pieridae Status: Resident in Madeira

Recommended tours to watch this butterfly

Laurel Forest Tour
Half-day birdwatching
Full-day birdwatching
Note: when booking any of these tours please state your interest in butterflies.

Small White Description

A medium-large white butterfly with a greyish apical patch extending further along costa than outer margin on the upper fore-wing. Females show two roundish spots on the upperside of the forewings while males only have one.

Pieris rapae Caterpillars

Its larva is green, densely clothed with a pale dorsal line and fine black dots along its body.

Host & Food Plants

Small white larva is a common pest of cultivated cabbages (Brassica sp.). It also feeds and oviposits on Cruciferae species as Coronopus didymus or on Tropaeolum majus (Wakeham-Dawson, 2001; Haahtela et al., 2011).

Habitat & behaviour

As one of the most common European butterflies, Small White butterflies are fond of every kind of flowers and so are easily seen in a wide range of habitats, from urban areas to cultivated fields, grasslands or gardens. It is a common migratory butterfly.

Distribution in the Atlantic Islands of Macaronesia:

Occurs in Madeira, Porto Santo, Deserta Grande and Canary Islands (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006)


Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2008: Introduced to Madeira, Porto Santo & Desertas Islands
Regional status according to Wakeham-Dawson et al., 2001: Common, resident migrant
Status according to the European Red List of Butterflies, 2010: Least Concern

Join Madeira Wildlife Monthly Newsletter. All the updates on your email every month.