Leptidea sinapis Linnaeus, 1758
Common names : Wood White [En], Piéride de la moutarde, Piéride du lotier [Fr], Boswitje [Nl], Senfweißling [De], ∆ασική πιεριδάκι [Gr]
Rennes-les-Bains, AUDE ● France
Description: The upperside is white with greyish tips to the forewings but they never settle with their wings open. The underside is a pale greyish green and serves as a good camouflage when settled. It has one main flight period in a season, late may to June but in warm summers a partial second shorter one occurs in August.
In flight, the male can be distinguished from the female by a black spot at the tip of the forewings that is greatly reduced in the female. Second brood individuals have reduced markings and the females, in particular, may have almost no black scales.
L. s. ssp. sinapis Linnaeus, 1758 – L. s. ssp. aestiva Staudinger, 1877 – L. s. ssp. aestivalis Bellier, 1869 – L. s. ssp. amurensis Ménétriés, 1859 – L. s. ssp. diniensis Boisduval, 1840 – L. s. ssp. japona Verity, 1911 – L. s. ssp. juvernica Williams, 1946 – L. s. ssp. koraicola Bryk, 1946 – L. s. ssp. lathyri Hübner, 1820 – L. s. ssp. majorides Verity, 1911 – L. s. ssp. mendesi Bryk, 1940 – L. s. ssp. pseudodiniensis Pfeiffer 1927 – L. s. ssp. realiformis – L. s. ssp. sinensis Butler, 1873 – L. s. ssp. vernalis Graeser, 1892
Biology: The adult flies from April-October in two, sometimes three, generations. Host plants in Europe: Fabaceae (Lathyrus pratensis, Lotus corniculatus, Vicia spp.).
Males are the more active of the two sexes and can be found patrolling for females, rarely stopping to rest or feed, especially in sunny weather. On dull days, the butterfly will rest on the underside of a leaf with its wings closed and, when disturbed, the butterfly will fly into thick undergrowth.
The courtship of this butterfly is an amazing spectacle. Male and female face each other with wings closed and intermittently flash open their wings. At the same time, the male waves his proboscis and white-tipped antennae either side of the female’s head. If the female is receptive to these signals, the female bends her abdomen toward the male and the pair mate, staying coupled for around 30 minutes.
The female lays her eggs on various members of the pea family in late May and June, most commonly Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis, bitter vetch Lathyrus linifolius, Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca and Birds-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus. The larvae are green and well camouflaged on their foodplant. Pupation takes place at the end of July in surrounding scrub and it is this stage which overwinters.
Habitat: The insect is found in meadows, forest edges and sparse forests up to 2,500 m above sea level. Rarely, if ever, this species can be seen on treeless, unforested areas.
Distribution: It is found in Europe and eastwards across the Caucasus, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan and South Siberia to the Baikal region.
Once a common and widespread butterfly across the southern half of the UK, this species has seen a drastic decline over the past 150 years.
Wikipedia, Wood White