Checkered White

Pontia protodice





The checkered white occurs in tundra, grassland, high desert, and low desert regions and have more than two broods of offspring per year (1). The checkered white distribution is centered in the southern United States but can be found north, up to parts of Southern Canada (3). The general white color of this butterfly is due to the pteridine pigment and a single melanin pigment creates the black pattern seen; males have smaller and fewer forewing markings (2). The adults feed on flower nectar of over fifty species of plants and the common host for the larvae is the flowering plant family Brassicaceae (3). For mating selection, the opposite sex is detected by the UV reflectivity as opposed to the sexually dimorphic characteristics in their wing pattern (3).



  1. Shapiro, A. M. (1992). Twenty years of fluctuating parapatry and the question of competitive exclusion in the butterflies Pontia occidentalis and P. protodice (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 311-319.
  2. Wiernasz, D. C., & Kingsolver, J. G. (1992). Wing melanin pattern mediates species recognition in Pieris occidentalis. Animal Behaviour, 43(1), 89-94.
  3. Hall, D. W. Southern Cabbageworm (larva), Checkered White (adult) Pontia (= Pieris) protodice (Biosduval & Leconte)(Insecta: Lepidoptera: Pieridae: Pierinae)