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Cabbage White

Common name for a butterfly in the family Pieridae, and with the scientific designation Pieris brassicae. It is also commonly known as Cabbage Butterfly, Large White and Large Cabbage White, in opposition to the Small Cabbage White (Pieris rapae). On the upper side, the male's wings are whitish with black markings on the tips, whilst females have the same markings, with two additional black spots in the middle of each forewing. The underside is a pale yellowish-grey with a greenish shine. Though these butterflies are completely harmless, their dirty-green-coloured caterpillars, on the other hand, can cause extensive damage to vegetables, quickly reducing cabbages and other brassica plants to mere stalks. The caterpillars are full of distasteful chemicals and are hence not eaten by birds, though one parasitic wasp species –like the Spider Wasp– lays its eggs inside the caterpillar, which is then eaten by the wasp's grubs. The Cabbage White is quite similar to the Indian Cabbage White (Pieris canidia). See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1) and (2).