Myths, Symbolism and Meaning of White Butterflies
American White Butterfly: White and Fluffy Pest
- 1 American White Butterfly: White and Fluffy Pest
- 2 Keeping Insects
- 3 Caring for a praying mantis, butterflies, stick insects and beetles
- 4 Cabbage White butterfly
- 5 Appearance of the The Small Cabbage White
- 6 Food
- 7 Behavior of the small white
- 8 Environmental requirements
- 9 Housing Cabbage White caterpillars and butterflies
- 10 Reproduction and breeding
- 11 Hyphantria cunea (mulberry moth)
- 11.1 Hyphantria cunea (mulberry moth)
- 11.2 Index
- 11.3 Summary
- 11.4 Pictures
- 11.5 Identity
- 11.6 Taxonomic Tree
- 11.7 Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- 11.8 Description
- 11.9 Distribution
- 11.10 Distribution Table
- 11.11 Risk of Introduction
- 11.12 Hosts/Species Affected
- 11.13 Host Animals
- 11.14 Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- 11.15 Growth Stages
- 11.16 Symptoms
- 11.17 List of Symptoms/Signs
- 11.18 Biology and Ecology
- 11.19 Notes on Natural Enemies
- 11.20 Impact
- 11.21 Detection and Inspection
- 11.22 Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- 11.23 Prevention and Control
- 11.24 References
In Lousiana, U.S., if a White Butterfly makes a sudden appearance in the home means that good luck will follow, especially if it flies around a particular person.
In Maryland, U.S., the appearance of a white butterfly in the home or flying around one’s head is an omen of death.
The Native American Zuni Indians of the Southweat believe that when white butterflies are seen, it indicates the summer season will be near, or that hot weather is coming. They also believe that when a white butterfly flies from the Southwest, rain may be expected (Zuni tribe, Southwest)
The Native American Blackfoot tribe believes that when a persons is sleeping, their dreams are carried to them by white butterflies.
One superstition says that if a white butterfly enters your house and flies around you, it is an omen of death *(but death in many cultures and traditions actually reprsents «transformation» — or the ending of one cycle and beginning of a new one.)
Many Native Americans believe that when a person watched a white butterfly for a long length of time, that it can induce sleep because of its silent and graceful motion. The dreams occuring from this sleep will be somewhat hypnotic and pleasant.
In Chinese symbology, a white butterfly symbolized the soul of a departed love one. A White butterfly also means angels are watching over you and that you are being protected.
If the first butterfly of the summer season is white, it will be rainy summer.
If a white butterfly comes, summer follows. If a white butterfly flies from the southwest, expect rain.
Some say that if the first butterfly one sees in the year is white, there may be news of a death.
He said when a white butterfly crosses your path or enters your home, it will bring good luck and is a sign that you will have a good life.
If the first butterfly you see in the year is white you will have good luck all year
White butterflies are symbols of spiritual change.
In the Phillipines, seeing a white butterfly means that there is a message coming.
Up to the 1600s it was against common law in Ireland to kill a white butterfly because they were believed to hold the souls of dead children.
If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
The Japanese have a popular folklore story and legend about the white butterfly.
To catch and keep a white butterfly is considered lucky—but it is considered even more lucky to set it free!
Caring for a praying mantis, butterflies, stick insects and beetles
Cabbage White butterfly
The Small White is a common European butterfly. This species is also called The Small Cabbage White. It’s latin name is Pieris rapae and it’s a small white butterfly with black dots at the tips of the wings. This butterfly species is especially cool because it is so easy to raise. It’s a great pet for children. Also in schools it is a great teaching tool to learn more about nature.
The Small White is found all over the world: across Europe, North Africa, Asia, and Great Britain. Right now it also occurs in North America, Australia and New Zealand even though originally it’s not from there. People accidentally introduced this species to those places.
Small Cabbage White butterfly
Appearance of the The Small Cabbage White
The small cabbage white butterfly is white with black wing tips. The wings also have a small black dot. This species also looks a lot like the Great White or Great Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris brassicae), but as the name suggests, this species is smaller.
The caterpillars of Pieris rapae are light green with very short fluffy hairs all over its body. The bigger species, Pieris brassicae, has caterpillars that have black spots all over their body.
The Cabbage White butterfly eats cabbage when its still in its caterpillar stage. As an adult butterfly it eats nectar from flowers. In captivity you can feed it sugar water.
You can feed the caterpillars with leaves of cabbage, this can be green cabbage, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy or kale. The best is organic vegetables, because regular cabbage could contain too much pesticides for the caterpillars.
Adult buttterflies drink nectar or sugar water with their long tongue. If you do not release the butterflies, you should feed them with sugar water. Mix 1 part sugar or honey with 7 parts water and stir until all sugar is disolved. Put the sugar water in a plastic cup and cover it with a thin mesh, for example a mosquito net. The water level should reach to around 1 cm under the mesh. Place this cup inside the butterfly environment. The butterflies will sit on the mesh and stick their tongue into the sugar water. They can drink without them falling into the sugar water. Replace the water every day as it will spoil.
Behavior of the small white
The caterpillars of this species are very docile and don’t move much. If they are on their food plant, cabbage, they will only move to reach the next bite. If they do not have any food, they will walk around actively abeid slowly trying to find a new leaf.
The Small White butterflies are very active. They fly around during the day and rest during the night. Especially in warm environments these butterflies really like to fly and could end up destroying their wings if you place them in a too small container.
The Cabbage White is a very easy butterfly species to keep. The caterpillars, pupa and butterflies need to be kept at temperatures around 20 °C. In the night the temperature could drop to 15 °C without problems. The day temperatures could be as high as 35 °C. So there is a wide range of temperatures that are OK for keeping this species. For humidity it also does not have a lot of requirements, just not too humid. Mold grows at high humidity and mold close to the pupa or caterpillars is deadly. If you notice mold you should keep the humidity down, by not adding water or by increasing the temperature in the enclosure a bit.
Housing Cabbage White caterpillars and butterflies
You can house the caterpillars of this species very easily. They need a plastic or glass container with a good lid. In the box or the lid there should be plenty of air holes for proper ventilation and oxygen. Place some paper on the bottom of the container for easy cleaning. Just lay the fresh cabbage on top of this. Gently brush the caterpillars on top of their food, or place a piece of their old food with the caterpillar on it on top of the new food. The caterpillars will walk to their food without problem. Provide the caterpillars with fresh cabbage every day.
You can keep the Cabbage White pupa in a similar container. Keep the pupa on a damp piece of kitchen paper, the paper should never be wet but just a bit moist. Make sure the container has plenty of ventilation. Keep it at the proper temperature, as described below.
You can keep the Cabbage White butterflies in a huge cage. A cage with mesh sides is best, this gives a lot of ventilation and prevents the butterfly from flying into the sides of the cage. A glass cage or terrarium also works, but the butterfly will damage its wings as it flies into the glass. The best is to release the butterflies into nature as soon as they emerge from their pupa. This is only possible if the Small Cabbage White occurs naturally in your country and area. You can do a lot of damage to nature by releasing new invasive species like the Cabbage White. In some countries its illegal to release non-native insects. Please check the law for your country before releasing these butterflies into the wild.
The pupae of Cabbage White. You cannot easily hang them on a thread because it can harm the pupae. Just keep them on a piece of paper inside a container.
Reproduction and breeding
It’s easy to breed Small Cabbage White butterflies. If you have raised the caterpillars succesfully and the pupa eclosed into adult butterflies you can start to breed with them. Just keep male and female butterflies together in a big enclosure. Make sure they have plenty of food, a temperature above 20 °C (best is 25 °C) and a big enclosure. The butterflies will mate by themselves. Place a cabbage leaf in the enclosure, on this leaf the female will deposit her eggs. The eggs are small and yellow.
How to distinquish male and female Small White butterflies? That is easy. The females are bigger than the males. The females also have a lot more black markings on their wings. The females have larger black tips at the end of the wings and two larger black spots on the middle of their wings. The males have only one small black dot and a small marking on the tip of the wing.
Hyphantria cunea (mulberry moth)
- Last modified
- 19 November 2019
- Datasheet Type(s)
- Invasive Species
- Natural Enemy
- Host Animal
- Preferred Scientific Name
- Hyphantria cunea
- Preferred Common Name
- mulberry moth
- Taxonomic Tree
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
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|Caption||Fall webworm, Mulberry moth (Hyphantria cunea); larvae on skeletonized leaf. Beijing, China. October 2013.|
|Caption||Larval web of fall webworm, H. cunea, on apple stem.|
|Copyright||NOVARTIS Crop Protection AG, Basel Switzerland|
|Caption||Fall webworm, Mulberry moth (Hyphantria cunea); larval damage, skeletonized leaf. Beijing, China. October 2013.|
|Caption||Fall webworm, Mulberry moth (Hyphantria cunea); adult male. Bartlesville, Oklahoma, USA.|
|Copyright||©Mark Dreiling/Bugwood.org — CC BY-NC 3.0 US|
|Caption||Fall webworm, Mulberry moth (Hyphantria cunea); adult female. Bartlesville, Oklahoma, USA.|
|Copyright||©Mark Dreiling/Bugwood.org — CC BY-NC 3.0 US|
Preferred Scientific Name
- Hyphantria cunea Drury
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Hyphantria textor (Harris)
International Common Names
- English: American white moth; blackheaded webworm; fall webworm; redheaded webworm
- Spanish: gusano de bolsa
- French: chenille à tente estivale; chenille blanche; écaille fileuse; noctuelle d’automne
Local Common Names
- Denmark: hvid bjørnespinder
- Germany: Amerikanischer Webebär; Amerikanischer weisser Bärenspinner; Spinner, Weisser Baeren-; Webebär, Amerikanischer; weiser Bärenspinner; weisser Bär
- Italy: falena tessitrice
- Japan: Amerika-siro-hitori
- Norway: hvit bjøernespinner
- Sweden: vid bjöernspinnare
- HYPHCU (Hyphantria cunea)
Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
Brownish-grey, attains 40 mm when fully developed, and has 12 small warts surmounted by characteristic tufts of hair. There are two forms, those with red heads and those with black heads.
The pupa has 12 characteristic appendages at the posterior end.
Moth with a wingspan of 25-30 mm; forewings are white or have black spots arranged in a number of rows; hindwings are also white with a small black spot on the leading part.
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Azerbaijan||Present||Introduced||1984||Gaziev et al. (1999); EPPO (2020)|
|China||Present||Yang ZhongQi et al. (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Beijing||Present||Liu HaiJun et al. (2005); EPPO (2020)|
|-Hebei||Present||Qiao XiuRong (2001); EPPO (2020)|
|-Inner Mongolia||Present||Introduced||Schmutzenhofer et al. (1996)|
|-Jilin||Present||Introduced||Schmutzenhofer et al. (1996); EPPO (2020)|
|-Liaoning||Present||Ji Rong et al. (2003); Schmutzenhofer et al. (1996); EPPO (2020)|
|-Shandong||Present||Wei JianRong et al. (2003); EPPO (2020)|
|-Tianjin||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Georgia||Present||Loladze et al. (2003); EPPO (2020)|
|India||Present||CABI (Undated)||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Manipur||Present||CABI Data Mining (2001)|
|Iran||Present||Rezaei et al. (2003); EPPO (2020)|
|Japan||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Kazakhstan||Present||Isin et al. (2008); EPPO (2020)|
|Kyrgyzstan||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|North Korea||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|South Korea||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Turkey||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020); Sullİvan et al. (2011)|
|Austria||Present, Few occurrences||EPPO (2020)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|Bulgaria||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Croatia||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Czechia||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Czechoslovakia||Present||CABI Data Mining (2001)|
|Denmark||Absent, Formerly present||EPPO (2020)|
|France||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Germany||Absent, Formerly present||EPPO (2020)|
|Hungary||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Italy||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Lithuania||Absent, Eradicated||EPPO (2020)|
|Moldova||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|North Macedonia||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|Poland||Present, Few occurrences||EPPO (2020)|
|Romania||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Russia||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|-Russian Far East||Present, Few occurrences||EPPO (2020)|
|-Southern Russia||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Serbia||Present||Vajgand et al. (2005); EPPO (2020)|
|Slovakia||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Slovenia||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Spain||Present||CABI Data Mining (2001)|
|Switzerland||Present, Few occurrences||EPPO (2020)|
|Ukraine||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Canada||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|-British Columbia||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-New Brunswick||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|Mexico||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|United States||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|-New Hampshire||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-New Jersey||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-New Mexico||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-New York||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-North Carolina||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-North Dakota||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-Rhode Island||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-South Carolina||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-South Dakota||Present||EPPO (2020)|
|-West Virginia||Present||EPPO (2020)|
Risk of Introduction
H. cunea is a classic quarantine pest, because of the great concern about its introduction into eastern Europe after the Second World War. It was one of the main preoccupations of EPPO in the early years of the Organization. Now, 40 years after its first introduction, it has probably reached the limits of its geographical range in Europe and phytosanitary measures are no longer considered necessary. Its status as an A2 quarantine pest is under reconsideration. In the more northerly countries of Europe, the temperature requirements of the species for overwintering are not available (Braasch, 1976); the insect could not reach the stage necessary for diapause, although a mass outbreak might occur in the year of introduction of larvae from outside.
For other parts of the world with a warm temperate climate (parts of South America, Australasia or Asia), H. cunea could be a quarantine pest. It is listed as a quarantine pest by IAPSC, probably in relation to North Africa.
Plants, plant products, accompanying packing materials and vehicles from countries where H. cunea occurs should be thoroughly inspected for the presence of larvae and other stages, since all may be present at any time of year.
Fumigation with HCN will destroy adults, larvae or pupae, even if hidden in cracks. Vehicles may also be treated (OEPP/EPPO, 1990).
Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
List of Symptoms/Signs
Biology and Ecology
Top of page In Krasnodar territory in southern Russia, just north of the Caucasus Mountains (Yaroshenko, 1975), emergence from overwintered pupae begins in late April or early May, and is completed in 4-6 weeks. Mass flight lasts for 7-10 days at average temperatures above 18°C, and activity is greatest at 20-28°C. Flight ceases at temperatures of 15°C and below. The most favourable conditions are 70-80% RH and temperatures not exceeding 22-25°C. The sex ratio is usually 1:1, females living for 4-8 days and males for 1-2 days less. Adults emerge in the evening and rest initially on branches, twigs and leaves before flying to preferred food plants. They are able to fly several kilometres. Females each lay 293-1892 eggs, mostly during 1-2 days, on the lower surface of the leaves on the upper and outer parts of trees; even heavy rain does not dislodge the eggs. There are two generations annually and occasionally a partial third. Mulberry is the most favourable host for female fecundity and larval development; however, most larval nests of the first generation are found on Acer negundo, and those of the second generation on fruit trees. In Romania, it was demonstrated that, although H. cunea is polyphagous, normal development occurs only on the preferred food plants, i.e. mulberries, apples, cherries and plums (rather than grapes, strawberries, roses or Tilia).
In Hungary, there are two generations per year and the larvae pass through seven instars. Optimum sunshine hours are 1950-2050 annually, with an average temperature of 17°C during the vegetative period and RH 65-70%, with 300-350 mm precipitation; 9°C is considered the threshold for development. Once accumulated temperatures above this level exceed 280 degree days, larvae hatch (and accurate forecasts can be made to within 1-2 days). In Russia, hatching of eggs occurs mainly during the morning (between the hours 07:00-11:00) and evening (17:00-01:00) (Fedosov, 1989). Pupae are cold resistant if well hidden in bark, where 82-84% of them hibernate. Others overwinter in the soil to a depth of 10 cm.
In Korea, adults generally emerge between the hours of 15:00 and 24:00, the peak being 19:00-20:00. Copulation occurs only once a day, for a few minutes, before sunrise. Eggs are laid in groups of about ten. Larvae can withstand up to 15 days starvation, although the resultant reproductive capacity of the adult will be adversely affected.
In Nova Scotia (Canada), females lay about 500 eggs, all in one mass, on leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs. Larvae construct a colonial web and feed together within it. Diapause is facultative and depends on climate. On average, males live for about 8 days. In Alabama (USA), there are two generations per year, one generation in spring and one in the late summer, and the species passes through 11 larval instars (Williams et al., 1987). For more information, see Chalcote and Gentry (1973), Yaroshenko (1975), Boehm (1976) .
Means of Movement/Dispersal
H. cunea can spread by natural adult flight and this has certainly been the main mode of spread within countries where the pest was introduced. International trade can facilitate movement to new areas. H. cunea is liable to be carried on vegetative host-plant material as well as on packing materials and in vehicles. The facility of the larvae to withstand starvation for up to 2 weeks means that they can easily be transported on vehicles to different areas and survive to initiate new infestations. Mass migrations due to exhausted food plants or the search for new sites often end in urban areas where the pest invades wood piles, houses, roads and vehicles (which can transport it to new and uninfested areas) (Giovanni et al., 1986). Transportation of H. cunea also occurs relatively often in wood logs where it inhabits cracks or holes in the bark (Shu and Yu, 1984). There is a certain risk of entry as eggs and larvae imported by amateur entomologists.
Notes on Natural Enemies
Detection and Inspection
Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
Prevention and Control
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product’s label.
Both mechanical (destroying nests) and chemical means are used for control. In Russia, diflubenzuron gave adequate control of H. cunea (Sazonov et al., 1984) as well as fenvalerate, cypermethrin and permethrin which induced 100% larval mortality in laboratory experiments (Sikura et al., 1988). However, chemical control with insecticides is not without problems. In Italy, where mulberry is the preferred host of H. cunea (Montermini and Oliva, 1984), the application of insecticides as well as Bacillus thuringiensis to the trees killed Bombyx mori, the silkworm, which is fed with mulberry leaves (Ferrari and Trevisan, 1987).
There has been much research on biological control. The most used and researched antagonistic organisms are subspecies of Bacillus thuringiensis. Preparations of B. thuringiensis kurstaki were reported to be most effective in Hungary and Korea (Jasinka, 1984; Choi et al., 1986). Other pathogenic organisms are the fungi Beauveria bassiana (Jasinka, 1984) and B. globulifera and the egg parasite Trichogramma dendrolimi (Shu and Yu, 1985).
Entomophagous nematodes (Steinernema feltiae) can be also used to reduce H. cunea populations (Yamanaka et al., 1986).
Chalcote VR; Gentry CR, 1973. Mating behaviour of fall webworms and attraction of male moths to trap baited with virgin females. Journal of Economic Entomology, 66:1006-1007.
EPPO, 1990. Specific quarantine requirements. EPPO Technical Documents, No. 1008. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Johnson WT; Lyon HH, 1994. Insects that feed on Trees and Shrubs (2nd edition). Ithaca, USA: Comstock, 166.
OEPP/EPPO, 1957. Fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea) in 1956. EPPO Publications Series A, No. 19.