- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
He's never seen anything like it.
A pink cabbage white butterfly? Pieris rapae are not pink--they're white
Yet there it was, flying around Cypress Lane in West Davis around noon Thursday, March 15. It was sporting a new do, a strange pinkish/red hue.
"When I looked at it closely, I could see it had been 'sprayed' with a red color both top and bottom," said Greg Kareofelas, who wears several hats (he's an associate of the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology; a naturalist who specializes in butterflies and dragonflies; and a photographer).
He shot out an email query, "Who's making pink rapae?"
"Someone COULD be trying to trace movements by making individuals highly visible, but I certainly haven't heard of it," replied butterfly expert Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis who maintains Art's Butterfly World. It is Shapiro who conducts the annual "Beer for a Butterfly Contest," offering a pitcher of beer for the first Pieris rapae of the year in the three-county area of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano. (Hint: they're always white.)
"Looks to me like someone's doing a mark and recapture," said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis professor of entomology. "I haven't heard of any project, though."
Meanwhile the pink rapae remains a mystery. An escapee from a lab? Part of a high school science project? The work of a prankster with leftover spray paint? A cucurbits project?
Anyone out there missing a pink rapae?