Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults. Wingspan 66–76 mm. The wings somewhat translucent. The fringes not banded (and relatively very narrow). Very slender-bodied to medium built; short-bodied. The eyes glabrous. Antennae reaching about halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate to abrupt; not curved; more or less flattened (blunt to tapered). Labial palps ascending (appressed to the frons). Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt. The outer and hind margins angled at about 115 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved. Uppersides of the forewings white (but semi-transparent); contrastingly dark-veined; with a conspicuous discal mark (when heavily darkened along the transverse vein), or without a discal mark; with their black venation displayed conspicuously against the rather translucent white background, the terminal extremities of the veins suffused fuscous.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; with the outer margins not scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings white (semi-transparent); conspicuously dark-veined; conspicuously patterned; without a discal mark; patterned like the forewings via the contrasting black venation only, including the markedly thickened transverse vein.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings with the black venation displayed conspicuously against the rather translucent whitish background: resembling the upperside but somewhat duskier costally, basally and posteriorly; conspicuously dark-veined.

Undersides of the hindwings with their black venation displayed conspicuously against the rather translucent whitish background: resembling the upperside, but somewhat duskier, especially basally and posteriorly; conspicuously dark-veined.

Wing venation. Forewings 11 veined (9 absent); without basally dilated veins. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b simple. Forewings with a discal cell; vein 2 departing from the cell less than three-quarters of the distance from its base (from about 2/3 out). Forewing veins 7 and 8 on a stalk from 6, 9 supposedly absent, 10 connate with the base of 6 or slightly separated from it on the cell, 11 separate from lower down the cell. “The subcostal nervure 4-branched” (Kirby).

Hindwings 8 veined; with a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins, or with 3 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b, or comprising 1a, 1b and 1c (the innermost vein 1c being weaker and scarcely “tubular”, but conspicuous and reaching almost to the termen). Hindwings with a closed discal cell; the transverse vein complete. 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another.

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs broadly bottle-shaped; longitudinally ribbed (from about the middle to the apex, where the ends of the ribs constitute a little coronet). The larvae having no known association with ants; hairy; exposed feeders. On woody Rosaceae, especially Prunus spp.

Pupae ridged and angular to smooth and rounded; conspicuously patterned (creamy white or greenish, with black dots); without shining-metallic markings; exposed, with no coccoon; not suspended, but attached at the tail and secured by a median girdle of silk.

British representation. 1 species. Aporia crataegi (Black-veined White). The adults abroad June to July.

Status in Britain. Formerly indigenous but now extinct. Once locally plentiful in southern England and Wales north to Merioneth and Norfolk, by the 1920s the Black-veined White was restricted to Kent, and it seems to have been extinct by 1930. It remains common in mainland Europe, where it is sometimes an orchard pest.

Distribution. Last seen in southeast England. Frequenting open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Pieridae.

Illustrations. • Aporia crataegi (Black-veined White: B. Ent. 360). • Aporia crataegi: B. Ent. 360, legend+text. • Aporia crataegi: B. Ent. 360, text cont.. • Aporia crataegi (Black-veined White): photos. • Aporia crataegi (Black-veined White): egg, larva, pupa. • Larva and pupa of A. crataegi: Duponchel (1849).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.