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Checkered White (Pontia protodice)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Checkered White.

 Updated: 8/21/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pieridae
          Genus: Pontia
            Species: protodice
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Pontia protodice
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 63mm (1.48in to 2.46in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, gray, yellow
Descriptors: diamonds, checkers, flying, black spots on wings
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
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
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
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Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.