Caterpillars of the Large White butterfly

Large white caterpillars
Large White Caterpillars. Photo: Wren Franklin

This photo taken by Wren Franklin near Long Burton in North Dorset on 10/01/2020 shows a very early appearance of caterpillars of the Large White Butterfly on Brassicas in an outdoor vegetable plot.

This unusual record comes during yet another very warm, wet winter in Dorset in the same week that the Met Office issued a statement advising that annual global temperature figures for 2019 confirmed that the past decade had been the warmest on record.

Wren, a very knowledgeable and experienced Naturalist added that this brought to his mind one of the key findings of the second UK State of Nature report published during 2019, namely:

The proportion of species undergoing rapid changes; the proportion of species defined as showing strong changes in abundance, either increases or decreases, rose from 33% over the long term to 53% over the past 10 years.

The climate is changing, can wildlife keep up?

2 thoughts on “Caterpillars of the Large White butterfly

  1. Ann Barlow

    Those caterpillars look just about full grown to me, so may I suggest that they are in fact very late autumn caterpillars rather than early spring ones. My latest pupation of a Large White in my garden (that I know about) was early December, but I saw caterpillars after that in a neighbour’s garden. Kind regards, Ann Barlow

    1. Wren Franklin

      Correct – the largest in the pictures do look to be 5th instar; the eggs they came from certainly originating in the 2019 calendar year. I cannot help but feel that these cold nights may have put an end to a bid for continuous brooding. Wren


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