N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Familia: Pieridae Duponchel, [1835]

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Pierides Duponchel, [1835]: 381.
Type: Pieris Schrank, 1801

Whites and Yellows
Weißlinge

Habit:

Dismorphiinae: Leptidea amurensis : Russia, E. Siberia, Buryatia, near Ulan-Ude, 2014.06.01. leg. Filippov Anatoly, coll. Michael Kurz Dismorphiinae: Leptidea amurensis underside: Russia, E. Siberia, Buryatia, near Ulan-Ude, 2014.06.01. leg. Filippov Anatoly, coll. Michael Kurz Coliadinae: Colias crocea : Austria, Salzburg, Thalgau, 1977.08.26, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz Coliadinae: Colias crocea underside: Austria, Salzburg, Thalgau, 1977.08.26, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   
Pierinae: Pieris brassicae brassicae : Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, 1976.07.17, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz Pierinae: Pieris brassicae brassicae underside: Salzburg, Flachgau, Thalgau, 1976.07.17, leg. et coll. Michael Kurz    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
   

Medial to large sized butterflies; ground colour often white or yellow, also orange, brown or black with black, yellow, orange, red or even violet markings; antennae continuously thickend towards apex, in Dismorphiinae short with distinctly offset, thickend apex; palpi projecting beyond head, at apex with stiff hair-like scales; abdomen slender, often laterally compressed; forelegs well developed in both sexes, with cleft claws; discoidal cell of wing closed, vein r3-r5 of forewings stalked or falling together, a3 missing; in hindwing, a3 always present (Forster & Wohlfahrt 1976).

The family consists of about 1300 valid species. It is divided into the following subfamilies: Dismorphiinae Schatz, [1886], Coliadinae Swainson, 1827, Pierinae Duponchel, [1835] and the exclusively African Pseudopontiinae Reutter, [1896]. The latter are assumed to be the basal sister group of all other Pieridae.

Distribution:

The family has a worldwide distribution with occurences even in subarctic regions.

Biology:

Pieridae are day-active butterflies, preferring open landscapes, also in alpine or aride localities. Only few species inhabit the inside of dense woods. Dismorphiinae are mostly weak flutterers, but several species, especially in Coliadinae are strong fliers, known to migrate even long distances. The imagines are regular nectar-feeders, preferring open accessible flowers. Depending on latitude and height, several generations per year may develope. Sexes find each other mainly on the basis of optic markers, exhibiting some kind of mating behaviour prior to copulation. Territorial behaviour of males seems to be an exception. Many species are bad tasting for birds, due to uptake of poisonous substances from their larval foodplants. Species of Gonepteryx are among the longest living butterflies, having a life-span of up to 11 months in the imaginal stage. During hibernation, they produce some kind of antifreezing agent, helping them withstand even temperatures below -20c. Some species are of economical importance and may become pests in monocultures of their food plants. Under natural conditions, they are controlled by several parasitoids, mainly by Hymenoptera and especially in the larval or pupal stage.

Stages in development:

Egg. Eggs are of the upright type. They are laid singly, but also in smaller or larger groups, depending on the taxonomic group.

Larva. Larvae are cylindric, mostly without separate protrusions, with a thin cover od short hairs and of green ground colour. Black and/or yellow stripes and dots are often developed. All legs are present. Larval footplants are mainly of the families Fabaceae and Brassicaceae.

Pupa. Pupae are attached to the surface by the cremaster fixed to a silken underlay and by a silken thread around the body. They may be upright or pending.

Diagnosis:

cleft claws of Pieridae uncleft claws of Papilionidae single claw of Lycaenidae males forelegs without claws of Nymphalidae
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

In contrast to all other families of Papilionoidea, all legs, including the forelegs, bear cleft claws.

Worth knowing:

Sources:

Duponchel [1835] in Godart, Histoire Naturelle des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de France. Supplément 1 (Diurnes), livr. 22.
Forster, W. & Th. A. Wohlfahrt 1976. Die Schmetterlinge Mitteleuropas: Tagfalter 2. 2. Auflage, Franckh´sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart: 180 pp., 28 colour plates.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2019.07.29
Kurz Michael: 2019.08.02
Kurz Michael: 2019.08.03
Kurz Michael: 2019.09.11
not reviewed

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