Raising the Green-veined White

The Green-veined White (Pieris napi) is, with no doubt, one of the most common butterflies. The species also has many generations per year, which enables us to see them fly almost all year long. Caterpillars, however, usually remain well hidden on their host plants.

One day in late May last year, while searching for other caterpillars, I saw a couple Green-veined Whites flying around plants that can be considered their caterpillars food plants. I decided to keep my eyes on one of them. After the butterfly took a short rest on the growth I took a close look. It turned out the butterfly, a female, wasn’t resting after all but laying a single egg on one of the leafs.

I took the egg home for raising. Here’s a couple photos from the journey from egg to butterfly. Note though, the adult butterflies featured below (including the copula) are other specimen to show the imago.

Good luck vs bad luck

No doubt butterflying, a.k.a. butterfly spotting, requires luck. First, you first need to sight a butterfly. Second, you’ll also want to get a decent photo.

Where can the line between good and bad luck be drawn? Is sighting a butterfly you’re after good luck if you can’t catch it with your camera? Or is it bad luck just to be teased? I must admit, chasing butterflies generates lots of disappointment. Nevertheless, I guess that’s a mission, a challenge I love about this hobby.

The other day I spent 4 hours browsing through two biotopes. And yes, I got sightings…but not the photos. Practically all I got were a couple shots on the ventral (underside) view of the Map (Araschnia levana). However, I had a good time being out. And the diversity of species that were present was a good sign there should also be plenty of caterpillars around in a couple weeks. Also worth being mentioned is that so far I’ve not found any caterpillars. I assume in most cases they haven’t hatched yet.

In addition to the Map I also spotted my first Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) today. Both are migrating species, overwintering in southern Europe or northern Africa. The recent warm wind from south has brought them to Finland. Hopefully these winds have brought some other surprises, too. Another beautiful species I came across today was the Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). Unfortunately, I had absolutely no luck with my camera.

All in all, I guess despite of having bad luck with the camera having good luck with sightings is more important. See below for the little photos I got. I’ve added some failed shots as well.


Early Orange Tip

Today’s true surprise was the Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines) which came out of the blue. Just a moment earlier I thought I’d have spotted my first Map (Araschnia levana) this spring, no confirmation on that sighting though.

I was browsing through a field when one of my all-time favorites flew by, right towards me. In case of this species Orange Tip is the perfectly matching name. However, worth being mentioned, it’s only the male which actually carries orange on its wings. Females are plain white.

I had to wait for quite some time before the butterfly took a rest from flying. My luck that it decided on a spot which was easily accessible. No doubt, since I got some ok shots this is one of this season’s highlights.

Nevertheless, the Orange Tip was not the only species around. Also flying, for the first time this spring, were the Green-veined White (Pieris napi) and masses of Green Hairstreaks (Callophrys rubi). I’ve actually never met this little green pearls before. While flying it’s hardly to recognize them and they appear just like a buzzing insect. However, once landed they look like green jewels.