Swooping Brassica Butterfly

Table of Contents

Adult WingspanQuarter Span
Lifespan30 Days


Widely considered the bane of many subsistence farmers, swooping brassica butterflies can devastate crops of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other such brassicas. Gaining their name from making wide swooping motions in their flight path, the real frustration with their existence for farmers comes from their caterpillars.

Larva Stage

Small, spiky, green caterpillars usually no larger than a fingernail litter plants where these butterflies dwell. While dense populations of these caterpillars will turn a healthy plant into a skeletal form of its former self within days, the real danger is from low density where they go unnoticed.

In low concentrations, these caterpillars are difficult to notice, and when ingested cause a full body numbness, resulting in temporary paralysis for up to two days.

Practical use for the caterpillars has been found, however, in that they can be used to produce a local anesthetic when ground into a paste in sufficient numbers.

Pupa Stage

The cocoons of the swooping brassica butterfly match the color of the leaves on which they hang perfectly, making them tough to notice foir all all but the keenest of eyes. These too possess the same paralyzing effect as the larvae.

Butterfly Stage

Swooping brassica butterflies are generally considered an irritation in garden and field, their swooping motion over darting into farmers faces.

They live purely on the nectar of brassica flowers, thus their population is largely controlled by harvesting early and limiting seed crop growth. This has lead to a secondary industry forming around the growth and sale of brassica seeds, with caterpillars being harvested for use in production of anesthetic. This often results in being more profitable than growing the brassicas themselves, and it is becoming increasingly common for people living outside of farms and homesteads to eat brassica sprouts rather than the products of the brassicas themselves.

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