Part of the Mustard White Butterfly complex, the Margined White has subtle differences that help differentiate it.
Mustard greens are a popular edible plant that is also the host plant for the larvae of this group of butterflies. The Margined White is a white butterfly with an ashy, dark body. The tips of the topside of the wings have sooty, black smudges. The underside of the white wings show soot or ash-colored veins, and possibly a yellowish tint. The wings are slightly more pointed at the tips compared to its close relatives, the Mustard White and the Arctic White. The geographic ranges of these three species do not seem to overlap, making location of sighting a useful tool for identifying.
The caterpillars feed on mustard leaves, while adults drink the plant's nectar. Males actively seek out females to mate with. Females lay fertilized eggs under leaves. Look for Margined Whites in moist forests, deciduous woods, along streams, and in meadows where the host plant grows. They are active early in the year and throughout autumn.
Scientific Name: Pieris marginalis
Other Name(s): Veined White
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 57mm (1.48in to 2.22in)
Colors: white; black; gray
Descriptors: dark veins; mustard white; arctic white; flying
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.