White diamonds on a black border grace the bottoms of the Checkered White, a North American butterfly not commonly known.
The Checkered White may have hues of yellow on its wings, but they are not as intense or as uniform as seen in Sulphurs, a group of yellow butterflies with different markings. Females have more markings than males. Two stand-alone black marks on each wing of the Checkered White sit near the center of the forewing. The one near the front edge of the wing has a thin white line in its center. Two other black marks are connected to the black and white diamond-shaped border that spans the bottom of all four wings. Males are mostly white with a large, black mark on the forewing, and three smaller ones near the wing's tip. It lacks the checkered border. Both have a dark, hairy thorax and a gray abdomen.
The caterpillar has alternating lines of black and yellow running from head to rear. Pale rings with small, glossy black dots on them circle around the body at each segment. Fine hairs protrude from the entire caterpillar. It feeds on the bitter leaves of a variety of mustards and cabbages as well as cleome, a spiky flowering plant loved by bees. Two or more broods can be produced each year, and the range of this butterfly spans the continent. Despite that, the Checkered White can be absent some years from areas where they were widespread. Drought conditions seem to negatively effect the population size year-to-year.
Scientific Name: Pontia protodice
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 63mm (1.48in to 2.46in)
Colors: white, black, gray, yellow
Descriptors: diamonds, checkers, flying, black spots on wings
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.