Pieris brassicae Linnaeus (Cabbage butterfly)

Pieris brassicae Linnaeus (Cabbage butterfly) 

Classification

  • Class– Insect
  • Order– Lepidoptera
  • Family– Pieridae
  • GenusPieris
  • Speciesbrassicae

Distribution :

Pieris brassicae has world-wide distribution and is reported to damage cruciferous vegetable plants wherever grown.

Food plants :

They are found feeding on cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, sarson, toria and other crops.

General appearance :

The butterfly is of large size and pale white in colour. The dorsal surface of the body is provided with smoky shade. The female butterfly is about 6.5 cm across the spread wings having two black dots on the dorsal side of each fore wing, whereas, male butterfly is smaller in size and provided with black spots on the underside of each fore wing.

Life history :

The female butterfly lays about 165 eggs on the leaves of host plants. The eggs are yellowish, conical in shape and laid in clusters of 50-90 eggs each. After an incubation period of 11-17 days in November-February and 3-7 days in March-May eggs are hatched into small, green caterpillars. The caterpillars start feeding voraciously on the leaves during early stages and by passing through 5 moultings in 15-20 days during March-April and 30-40 days during November- February, they attain full grown size. The full grown caterpillar measures 4-5 cm in length and becomes greenish yellow in colour. The body is covered with short hairs. Full fed caterpillar undergoes pupation either on the leaf or on a tree or any suitable place near the food plant. After 7-14 days in March-April and 20-28 days in November-February butterfly emerges out from the pupae. The life span of adult butterfly varies from 2-12 days. Four generations of this pest have been recorded during October to April.

Damage :

Caterpillar is the only destructive stage. The younger stage (Ist instar) just scrapes the surface of the leaf but later instars feed on the leaf of host plant from margin inwards. Ordinarily complete plant is eaten away voraciously by the caterpillars resulting in complete destruction of the host plant.

Prevention and control :

  1. The pest population can be minimized by spraying the crops with malathion 0.05% or diazinon 0.02% up to three weeks before harvesting.
  2. If infestation occurs during the later stages of the growth of the plants, carbaryl 0.2% should be used to check the pest population.

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