A gift from Mother Nature; the Development of a Small White

Rups van het Kleine koolwitje

Sometimes Mother Nature helps with Development; this week I’ve been able to finish the series of the Small White. This time I didn’t receive a kit with eggs, caterpillars and pupae, as with the Large White; the Small White butterflies decided to use the cabbage plants in my garden to lay their eggs themselves.

Different caterpillars

To feed the Large White caterpillars, I’ve bought some pointed cabbage plants, but they turned out to be way too small for the amount of food the caterpillars needed on a daily basis. So I bought some cabbage in the supermarket instead. I left the plants in the garden to grow, and they slowly turned into big cabbage plants. In the beginning of June, I discovered a caterpillar on one of the plants and I’ve noticed right away that it looked different from the Large White Caterpillars. So I tried to find some more information.

Unfertilized eggs

I discovered it was a Small White caterpillar and I thought it would be interesting to also follow this species, so I could document the differences between the tw. Therefore, I decided to put four caterpillars into a Fauna box to help them to grow into butterflies. At the end of the month, they emerged from the pupae and laid new eggs, so I could set them free again. The eggs were probably unfertilized, because they never hatched and it looked like the Small White project had failed.

Second attempt

A few weeks later, I looked at one of the cabbage plants and saw something yellow; a Small White egg. It was the first time I actually discovered and egg, so I was very happy. I’ve learned that the Large and Small White eggs can be distinguished by the amount of eggs; the Large White eggs are grouped together while the Small White deposits individual eggs all over the plant. This was clearly a Small White egg and I quickly discovered a few more, so I decided to put some in a Fauna box to give it another go. These eggs were clearly fertile and a few days later the first caterpillar appeared.

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