A Male Cabbage White Butterfly Bobbing from One Zinnia to the Next

Cabbage White Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

For many of us this is the first and last butterfly that we see each year. We watch them fly in our neighbor’s yards, across ballfields and along the storefronts downtown. Do you ever wonder how those first 2 or 3 (200 or 300?) first came aground in these United States? Was that event in Massassachusetts? Virginia? South Carolina? Rhode Island or New York?

Our male has been bobbing from one Zinnia flower to the next, enjoying the nectars of the Outdoor Gardens at the Phipps Conservatory. Given little attention by most naturalists, these white and black beauties come to grow on you. Focused, hardy and seemingly unpalatable as their wings are often intact–how do this petite butterflies manage to so deftly handle their business?

Tomorrow and the next day you’ll likely see several in flight. Perhaps they are worth giving some thought to.


2 thoughts on “A Male Cabbage White Butterfly Bobbing from One Zinnia to the Next

    • It’s been quite some time since I identified them as the ‘European’ Cabbage Whites. Some years ago I rinsed the ‘European’ from my lexicon. Travel any sizable U.S. city and you quickly see the new face of America. So then these whites are no longer “invader” but now neighbor. The Cabbage Whites I see east of the Mississippi far outnumber any other. So I agree with the authors…they outnumber the other species. I’m in no position to comment on their present day impact on agriculture?


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