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Margined White (Pieris marginalis)


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



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Image Credit: Arch Baker, taken in WA
Full-sized image of the Margined-White-Butterfly Thumbnail image of the Margined-White-Butterfly

Part of the Mustard White Butterfly complex, the Margined White has subtle differences that help differentiate it.



Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 shows 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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pieridae
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          Genus: Pieris
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            Species: marginalis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Pieris marginalis
Other Name(s): Veined White
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 57mm (1.49" to 2.24")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; black; gray
Descriptors: dark veins; mustard white; arctic white; flying
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 38mm (1.5in) and 57mm (2.2in)
Lo: 38mm
Md: 47.5mm
Hi: 57mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Margined White may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Margined White. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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