SUMMARY In butterflies female mate choice is influenced by both visual and olfactory cues, the latter of which are important at close range. Males of the green-veined butterfly, Pieris napi , are known to release citral(mixture of geranial and neral, 1:1), but its role(s) and conditions of release are not known. Here, we show that male P. napi release citral when interacting with conspecific males, conspecific females, heterospecific males and also when alone. The amount of citral released correlated strongly with male flight activity, which explained more than 70% of the variation. This suggests that males do not exercise control over turning release on or off, but rather that citral is emitted as a passive physical process during flight. Electroantennogram experiments showed that female antennal response was ten times more sensitive to citral than male response. Females expressed acceptance behavior when exposed to models made with freshly excised male wings or those treated with citral following chemical extraction, but not to ones with extracted wings only. Hence, these behavioral and electrophysiological tests provide strong evidence that citral is a signal from the male directed to the female during courtship, and that it functions as a male sex pheromone.