Adaptations to captivity in the butterfly Pieris brassicae (L.) and the implications for ex situ conservation

  • Published source details Lewis O.T. & Thomas C.D. (2001) Adaptations to captivity in the butterfly Pieris brassicae (L.) and the implications for ex situ conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation, 5, 55-63.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear declining species in captivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Rear declining species in captivity

    A study (year not specified) in two captive-rearing facilities in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire, UK (Lewis & Thomas 2001) reported that large white Pieris brassicae were successfully reared in captivity for >25 years, but found some morphological changes occurred. A population of large white were bred in captivity for >25 years (100–150 generations). However, long-term captive-bred butterflies were heavier (1.9 g) than butterflies in their third generation in captivity (1.8 g), and had smaller, shorter and broader wings (see paper for details). Captive-bred females laid more eggs (340 eggs/female) than females new to captivity (30 eggs/female). Caterpillars in a long-term captive population, originally caught in southern England >25 years ago, were reared on a synthetic diet at 23–25°C. Adults were kept in cages (45 × 80 × 48 cm) with 150–200 adults/cage. Wild egg batches were collected in Glamorgan, UK, and reared through two generations in captivity in the same conditions. Data were collected on the number of eggs laid in the first 16 days after emergence by 15 females kept with 15 males of each group, and the weight and wing size of freshly emerged adults (number not specified).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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