Pieridae facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsPieridae
|The Small White or Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)|
The Pieridae are a large family of butterflies. They are known as Whites, Yellows, or Sulphurs. This family has about 76 genera and 1,100 species. They are mostly from tropical Africa and Asia. Most pierid butterflies are white, yellow or orange with black spots. The pigments that give the coloring to these butterflies are derived from waste products in the body. They are a characteristic of this family.
The sexes are usually different, often in the pattern or number of black markings.
Males of many species feed on salts from moist soil. They do this in groups. This behavior is known as mud-puddling or puddling.
The Pieridae have the radial vein on the forewing with 3 or 4 branches and rarely with 5 branches. The fore legs are well developed in both sexes. The tarsal claws are bifid (bifid means split into two parts).
The Pieridae are divided into the following four subfamilies:
- Dismorphiinae (6 genera) They are mostly neotropical. This group includes many mimetical species. The host plants are in the family Fabaceae.
- Pierinae (55 genera) This subfamily includes the Whites and Orange-tips. Many of these species are strongly migratory. Their host plants are in the families Capparidaceae, Brassicaceae, Santalaceae, and Loranthaceae.
- Coliadinae (14 genera) This subfamily includes the Sulphurs and Yellows. Many of these species are sexually dimorphic. Some species, such as in the genus Colias, have wing patterns that are visible only under ultraviolet light.
- Pseudopontiinae The main species in this subfamily is Pseudopontia paradoxa. It is endemic to West Africa.
Some popular species
- Anthocharis cethura catalina, Catalina Orangetip
- Anthocharis cardamines, Orange Tip
- Colias croceus, Clouded Yellow
- Colias eurydice or Zerene eurydice, California Dogface
- Gonepteryx rhamni, Brimstone butterfly
- Leptosia nina, Psyche butterfly
- Phoebis sennae, Cloudless Sulphur
Some pest species
- Colias eurytheme, Alfalfa butterfly or Orange Sulphur
- Colias philodice, Clouded Sulphur or Common Sulphur
- Pieris rapae, Cabbage White or Small White
- Pieris brassicae, Large White or Cabbage White
Images for kids
Pieridae Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.