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Cabbage White Butterflies – Small White

September 12, 2017

My latest batch of cabbage white (small white) caterpillars did not winter with us after all!

All 9 emerged after their metamorphosis over the course of a week.

If you would like to read more about the caterpillars click HERE.

I’ve also written posts about Cabbage White caterpillars and butterflies for the large white!

They are just too beautiful for words, so in this post I’ve included several photos and even a video I managed to capture as one came out!


About 24 hours before they push their way out, the wings turn white with clearly defined spots and you can even see the little hairs on their bodies through the tissue paper thin chrysalis

I had no control over the music in the background. My girls were watching Ready Steady Wiggle! I sat for a good 2 hours watching for the one in the video (9 of 9) to push through so that I could record it. The one below was a surprise, and my camera wouldn’t cooperate, so I could only snap photos.

The wings only stay rumpled for about a minute before they’re mostly pumped up to dry!

They will hang upside down for well over an hour, getting used to their new wings.

This is an amazing, low cost activity to do with children or even to just do by yourself  for fun.

If you are interested in rearing your own cabbage white butterflies, all you really need to do (if you live in the UK) is plant a nasturtium. They grow like weeds from seed and the seeds are easy to find and very inexpensive.

The caterpillars are happy enough to live in a plastic bug container (with air holes), as long as they are kept out of direct sunlight and the nasturtium provides all the fresh food you need for them.

Note: It is important to collect the eggs before they hatch, or else you risk parasitic wasps laying eggs inside the caterpillars, which you won’t discover until they’re ready to pupate. (when they explode)


From → Garden, Scotland

  1. Mark Cunliffe permalink

    A great blog – well done. My Grandson planted nasturtium seeds spring 2017 and we transferred one group of eggs to a small fish tank in September and then followed your journey. It’s now April 2018 and we will move the 19 pupa from the fridge to a warm light place in a couple of weeks.. Nasturtiums are coming up and my Grandson is expecting hundreds of Large whites filling the sky by August.

    • Thank you very much. It’s an amazing experience to have with children, isn’t it? Best of luck for your grandson’s butterflies waking up!

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