Checkered White (Pontia protodice)
The Checkered White is a species of common small to medium size butterflies found across the United States. They are mostly seen during the summer months in a wide variety of environments.
- Family: Pieridae
- Genus: Pontia
- Common names: Southern Cabbage Butterfly
- Scientific Name: Pontia protodice
Description and Identification
The larva is considered as a cabbage worm and has a pale greenish gray body with three broken yellow lines on the back, while the entire body is dotted with numerous small and large black spots. The body is also covered with very fine hair-like growths.
The chrysalis is pale gray to grayish white with very faint yellow patches and tiny black dots andhangs from the stem of its host plant.
Sexual Dimorphism: Distinctly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, of male’s forewings display a checkered pattern in black on the outer half, while the females are more heavily patterned, though the markings are rather brown (than black), as also diffused. The hindwing of both the sexes is white. When the wings are closed, the male’s hindwings exhibit a pale checkered pattern, whereas the female show yellowish tan markings on the hindwings, as well as at the tips of forewings.
Average wingspan: 1.25–1.75 inches (3.2–4.4 cm)
Flight pattern: Slow, yet erratic
Pale yellowish in color, with an elongated shape and a coarse body, laid one at a time; they turn orange before maturing
|Distribution||Common in the southern United States and northern Mexico|
|Habitat||A diverse variety of sites like fields, pastures, sandy areas, dry weedy areas, vacant lots, railroad beds, and roads|
|Lifespan of adults||Believed to be about 6 to 9 months|
|Host plants||Plants from the mustard and the caper families|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar primarily from mustards, composites, and alfalfa species|
Did You Know?
- The caterpillars of the species primarily prefer buds, flowers, and fruits of host plants unlike the caterpillars of most other species that prefer leaves.