Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Family Pieridae - Whites, Sulphurs, Yellows

Sulphur - Phoebis sennae - female Western White (Darkish), 2:57pm - Pontia occidentalis - female orange-barred sulphur - Phoebis philea Cabbage White Butterflies mating - Pieris rapae - female ID for a Sulfur #1? - Colias harfordii - male Falcate Orangetip - Anthocharis midea - male Sleepy Orange - Abaeis nicippe Sleepy Orange - Abaeis nicippe
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Pieridae (Whites, Sulphurs, Yellows)
Other Common Names
There are about 1,100 species worldwide and 58 in North America (Scott, 1986). Conservation Assessment for the West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis Edwards).
Nearctica lists 68 species in 16 genera.
Adults, medium to small wings white, yellow, or orange, with some black or red; many have hidden ultraviolet patterns used in courtship.
Most larvae of whites feed on plants of the mustard family, Cruciferae. The caterpillars of most Sulphurs feed on legumes (Family Fabaceae).
Life Cycle
There may be more than one generation per year. Females lay columnar eggs on leaves, buds or stems. Usually they overwinter as larvae or pupae.
"The family Pieridae contains many species, most of which are white or yellow, marked with black and orange. They are usually called 'whites' or 'sulphurs'. In fact, the common name, 'butterfly', indicates this yellow or yellow-orange color of the insects. This common name was probably first applied to yellow European members of this family. They are very abundant and are often found at mud puddles. There are many common forms, such as the cabbage butterfly, (Pieris rapae), an introduced species and one of our most abundant and widespread species, generally recognized by everyone."(1)
Print References
Arnett & Jacques (1)
Works Cited
1.Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects
Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Dr. Richard L. Jacques. 1981. Fireside.