The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Large White - Pieris brassicae

Two summers ago our kids occupied themselves one day by collecting caterpillars from some nasturtiums growing outside our neighbour's house and bringing them into our garden to eat our nasturtiums!

They turned out to be the caterpillars of Large White butterflies, Pieris brassicae. Over the next few days they grew bigger ...

... until our nasturtiums had almost all been eaten! Then one day I noticed a couple of caterpillars climbing up the walls of the house.

When they reached a sheltered spot they shed their skin and then started to fatten up. If you look carefully, there is a length of silk around the second segment from the right holding the caterpillar to the wall.

Within an hour or so, they were looking more like a chrysalis.

And this is what they looked like a couple of days later. This was the end of September and the chrysalises remained there all winter. One day the next spring I checked and discovered that the chrysalises had all emerged and I had missed the butterflies!

This is what the adult butterflies would have looked like.


  1. I will never, and I mean truly never, get tired of the Whites. I know most people think of them as common, and now that I've lived in places where they are common, I sort of understand why. But I looked for one in vain for many, many years. I was so excited the first time I saw one. And now I think of them as such a gift. They are around when no other species is to be found. And this bottom shot is just proof of why we should keep chasing them. Lovely.

  2. I think that the Blues are my favourite butterflies, but the Whites come a close second. We have four species here and they are the first new butterflies to appear in the spring and that makes them special!