Leptidea sinapis

Wood White

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, May 2013

Photo: sinapis

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.

Photo: sinapis

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: sinapis

SE Serbia, June 2012

Photo: sinapis

S Greece, July 2007

Photo: sinapisPhoto: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, August 2013

Photo: sinapisPhoto: sinapis

Var, France, July 2010

Photo: sinapisPhoto: sinapisPhoto: sinapisPhoto: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, April to July 2010

Photo: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, April 2011

Photo: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, April 2011

Photo: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, April 2012

Photo: sinapis

Valais, Switzerland, April 2009