Caterpillar of the White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)
Species: P. rapae
Binomial name: Pieris rapae
Common name: Caterpillar of the white butterfly,
From Europe and North America, in New Zealand since about 1930 and now found throughout the country.It is suspected that it first arrived in New Zealand in the summer of 1929-30, it was first recorded in Napier in March 1930. It quickly spread all over New Zealand by the autumn or 1936. However there seems to be 'jumps' in its dispersal over those few years, for example the first specimen in the South Island was in the port town of Timaru, not in the Marlborough region as one would expect by natural dispersion. So the logical conclusion is that some specimens where transported around the country along with our shared food of the cabbage family.
The butterflys have a wingspan of 45–50 mm. Caterpillars are pests of cabbage and other plants of the Brassicaceae family.
Several parasites keep numbers in control.
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