Large white butterfly

Large white butterfly

The large white butterfly is a common species of butterflies, through which we demonstrate the anatomy of butterflies.



large white butterfly, butterfly, pest, complete metamorphosis, ontogeny, egg, larva, pupa, imago, caterpillar, proboscis, host plant, thorax, abdomen, antenna, sexual dimorphism, mouthpart, compound eye, animal, arthropods, insects, insect, arthropod, biology

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  • head
  • thorax
  • abdomen
  • arthropod leg
  • wing - Both pairs of wings are covered with tiny scales, which resemble fine dust. These form characteristic patterns on the wings. Unlike the male, which has two black spots only on the underside of each forewing, the female has two black spots on both sides of its forewings.
  • compound eyes - It consists of thousands of individual photoreceptor units or ommatidia. It provides advanced visual perception.
  • antenna - Important chemical sense organ. Insects have one pair of antennae, which have evolved from legs.
  • proboscis - The typical, spirally coiled mouthpart of butterflies, used for sucking up liquid, such as nectar of flowers. Insect mouthparts have evolved from legs.

Internal organs

  • multichamber heart - Insects have an open circulatory system filled with haemolymph. It is circulated by a tube that extends along almost the entire length of the body, from the heart located in the abdomen to the head of the insect, where it flows into the body cavities. It re-enters the tube through openings along its sides. Its function is to transport nutrients and waste. It does not transport breathing gases, this is the task of the trachea system.
  • stomach
  • central nervous system - It consists of the insect brain and the ventral nerve cord. The brain plays an important role in processing the information coming from the eyes and antennae and controls the other parts of the nervous system. It also contains neurosecretory cells. These are specialised nerve cells responsible for the production of the juvenile hormone which regulates moulting in insects. The ventral nerve cord starts in the brain and runs along the abdomen. The ganglia of the ventral nerve cord contain neuron cells and are joined by bundles of nerve fibres.
  • anus
  • caeca - Their function is to make digestion and absorption more effective by providing a large digestive surface.

Sexual dimorphism

  • male - It has two black spots on the underside of each forewing.
  • female - It has two black spots on both sides of each forewing.

Life cycle

  • egg - The female usually lays them on the underside of leaves.
  • larva - Feeding on leaves of plants, it can cause severe economic damage. It sheds its skin (moults) four times before becoming a pupa. It is between the second and third moulting that the larva requires the most nourishment.
  • pupa - It undergoes complete transformation. Most of the larval tissues are broken down. Thus the imago is formed, which emerges from the pupa.
  • imago - It has a wingspan of about 5-6 cm. Males and females feature distinct wing patterns. The male has two black spots only on the underside of each forewing, while the female has two black spots on both sides of its forewings.



One of the most well-known pests on cabbage is the large white butterfly. It is one of the most common butterflies in Europe. In May, adult females lay their eggs on cabbage.

The small larvae hatching from the eggs consume a great deal of food, causing great damage to cabbage leaves. The larvae develop rapidly; they moult multiple times, transform into pupae and then emerge as imagoes.

2-3 generations grow up annually. The insects overwinter in this pupa state. Using insecticides is an effective method against them.

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