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Cabbage Whites Mating

Cabbage White butterflies (Pieris rapae) are seemingly common, rather ordinary and unremarkable butterflies.  That is, until you become acquainted more intimately with their reproductive idiosyncracies.  The male’s sperm, along with a nutritious snack, is contained within a package called a spermatophore. It is the size of the spermatophore that defies belief, as it makes up 13 percent of the male’s body weight.  Translated into human terms, a 150 male would possess a 20-pound package of sperm.

The male Cabbage White deposits its spermatophore into a pouch within the female’s reproductive tract and the sperm proceed to swim to a second pouch where they are used to fertilize the female’s eggs.  The female absorbs the nutrients that accompanied the sperm and uses them to make approximately half the eggs she lays.

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8 responses

  1. Suzy

    What a guy!

    Suzy Fried Sent from my iPhone


    September 2, 2020 at 7:42 am

  2. Mikey

    If the female uses the nutrients for half of the eggs she has what happens to the other half of her eggs?

    September 2, 2020 at 7:48 am

  3. Alice

    🤭🤭😳😳 amazing….human males would need to have their pants redesigned.

    September 2, 2020 at 8:58 am

  4. Stein

    I chuckled out loud at Alice’s comment! I think it’s amazing and wonderful that scientists study these kinds of things. Now if the butterflies caterpillars would stay away from my fall broccoli crop…

    September 2, 2020 at 10:19 am

    • Alice

      😁 it’s the only thing I could think of.

      September 2, 2020 at 10:30 am

  5. So, interesting, especially considering how important it is for flying creatures to minimize their weight. Obviously, maximizing reproductive success is more important!

    September 2, 2020 at 12:11 pm

  6. Ann Buckingham

    Trying not to picture human adolescent boys with similar product.

    September 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm

  7. Very interesting! So that’s a butterfly not a moth? Wow! We get a ton of these around here in Mass! They are very delicate and pretty! 🙂 ❤

    September 3, 2020 at 2:39 am

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