Editors: W.T. Wilsey, C.R. Weeden, and A.M. Shelton
Cabbageworm (Pieris rapae) -
for larger image
The imported cabbageworm adult is a white butterfly tinged with yellow
on the undersides of the wings. The male has one black spot on the
top of the forewing, whereas the female has two black spots on the
forewing. The butterfly has a wing span of approximately 1-3/4 inches
Newly laid eggs are an off-white, later turning light to dark yellow
in color. The bullet-shaped egg stands on end and has longitudinal
ridges. Eggs are normally laid on the underside of the leaves.
The larvae, which hatch in about 3 to 7 days, are small velvety green
caterpillars. They feed for 2 to 3 weeks and pass through five instars.
A mature larva is dark velvety green with a light yellow stripe down
its back and a broken stripe along each side of the body. When mature,
they are approximately 1 1/4 inches (32 mm) long. Larvae have five
pairs of abdominal prolegs and three pairs of anterior legs. Larvae
are normally sluggish when prodded, and small larvae seldom leave
the leaf where they were hatched. Later instars may move to other
parts of the plant or even to nearby plants.
When nearing pupation, larvae will frequently crawl some distance
away and attach to the underside leaves where they change into
a chrysalis. The chrysalis is a naked structure, 3/4 inch (18
mm) long, greenish in color, but eventually turning light brown.
It is tapered at the end and attached to the leaf by silken threads.
The distal end is thicker and has a pointed protrusion.
Damage inflicted by imported
cabbageworm on cabbage and crucifers
Some information on this page
taken from Insects of Crucifers: Cornell Cooperative Extension factsheet
number 102GFS751.10 authored by A. M. Shelton, and J. T. Andaloro.
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Copyright is held by Cornell University.
Jason D. Plate. Last updated Mar. 8th, 2007.