Lepidoptera The Wood White Butterfly – Leucophasia Sinapis

The distinguishing feature of this butterfly (see Butterfly ImagePlate II, fig. 1) is the extreme lightness and delicacy of its build. Its wings are narrow, and rounded at the tips; and the only mark to relieve the white ground of the upper side is a squarish blotch at the tip of the fore wing, and even this is either very indistinct or entirely absent in the female. The under surface is clouded with a pale greenish tint.

This insect may be looked for in May and again in August, in paths and clearings in woods, where it moves along with a slow but steady flight, hardly ever seeming to rest for a moment. It is not by any means a common butterfly, but is very widely distributed, and sometimes appears in considerable numbers in certain favoured spots. Among the localities recorded may be mentioned Torquay, Exeter, Plymouth, South Dorset, New Forest, Reading, Darent Woods, Morecambe Bay, Haslemere, Windermere, &c.

The caterpillar is of a beautiful green colour, and is covered with short whitish hairs. A darker green stripe runs down the middle of the back, and a bright yellow stripe along each side. Its food plants are the tufted vetch (Vicia Cracca), bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus and L. pilosus), bitter vetch (Lathyrus tuberosus), and the everlasting pea (L. sylvestris).

The chrysalis is a very beautiful object. Its colour is a delicate green, tinged with pink; and the wing-cases project in beautiful curves much beyond the general surface.