Leptidea sinapis

Wood White


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
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Valais, Switzerland, May 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, April 2012

Field notes and information

The Leptidea group, the wood whites, are a complex of 3 extremely closely related species and two other very similar species so great care is needed in some areas where the species overlap. That said, the group is a familiar sight across most of Europe, although scarcer and very local in the northern parts of its range.

Identification & Similar species & Distribution: A group of 3 cryptic species flies across Europe: sinapis : found throughout Europe. reali: principally western Europe, extent of its coverage in this region is not clear. Since its discovery in the 90s, it has been considered to be widespread in Ireland, with the exclusion of the Burren, Co. Claire where it is replaced by sinapis. A new species juvernica was discovered in 2011. It flies throughout Europe.

All 3 species are inseparable by external characteristics alone due to the high varibaility of individuals and populations. It is possible that reali may have some features that help separate it: the curve of grey post-discal markings on the hinding follows the shape of the wing, but is straighter in sinapis. Perhaps other differences will be found in coming years.

Flight: Multiple brooded from spring to late summer depending on latitude.

Habitat & Behaviour: Woodlands, scrub. Flies weakly but rarely settles to rest. Wing shape and flight style make the Leptidea easy to notice in flight.

Variation: The spring brood is darker than later ones.

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Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

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SE Serbia, June 2012

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S Greece, July 2007

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2017

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2016

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NW Greece, July 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, April to July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2009

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Var, France, July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2011

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2012