display | more...

The Large White is a butterfly widespread throughout Europe, in North Africa and even as far east as the Himalayas. Most often it can be found in gardens, but it also inhabits fields, meadows, woodland margins and mountain valleys. The female lays two to three hundred orange-yellow eggs, which are glued in clusters to the underside of leaves. The caterpillar hatches after four to ten days; it starts to eat the leaves from the centre, only beginning to nibble the edges several days later. It moults four to five times during its development, which lasts three to four weeks or sometimes even longer, depending on the climatic conditions of the habitat.

Before pupating, caterpillars leave the food-plant and search for sheltered places in the neighbourhood. They pupate underneath window ledges and the eaves of houses, on fences, milestones, etc. The pupa is usually yellow-green with dark spots. Among the caterpillars preparing for pupation there are always a number which are killed by the parasitic larvae of the Braconid wasp (Apanteles glomeratus L.). Instead of turning into a pupa, the caterpillar dies, surrounded by the yellow cocoons of the parasites which have been feeding inside its body.