Have you ever seen any Checkered White butterflies these days?
They’re fairly widespread within the southern United States and northern Mexico (they’re often called the Southern cabbage butterfly), however one CW fluttered via our pollinator backyard in Vacaville on June 23.
It is in the identical household, Pieridae, because the cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae.
This one, a feminine Pontia protodice, as recognized by butterfly guru Artwork Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, appeared to love our lavender.
“There was one laying eggs at Gates Canyon (Vacaville) two weeks in the past,” Shapiro famous. “That is an immigrant, which sometimes overwinters here–not very not too long ago, although. It lives within the desert, each in SoCal and in Nevada. I do not know which course these are coming from.”
He reported two not too long ago at Lang Crossing on the Sierran West slope at 5000 ft. “That is in all probability a major incursion.”
He noticed “scads of them” on June 30 in Rancho Cordova–clearly breeding there!”
The Checkered Whites “are likely to fly in a straighter line than rapae, prefer it’s late for an essential date,” he quipped. The females have extra intensive markings than the males.
On his web site, Artwork’s Butterfly World, he factors out that:
“Within the Seventies this species was typically ample at low elevation alongside the transect, overwintering solely domestically and sporadically-mostly on dredge tailings alongside the American River. It has since change into a lot rarer and in most years is seen solely in September and October. At Sierra Valley it overwinters unpredictably however colonizes every year from the desert in Could or June, and often turns into widespread by late summer season. It has been recorded in any respect websites however will not be a everlasting resident at any of them right now!”
“A extremely vagile species, the Checkered White breeds on a terrific number of Brassicaceous crops, preferring smaller and unsucculent species equivalent to Peppergrasses (Lepidium, however L. latifolium is unpreferred), Tumble Mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), and the short-lived perennial Hirschfeldia incana (previously known as Brassica geniculata). The eggs are orange, laid conspicuously close to the highest of the plant, and the larvae, that are striped lengthwise in whitish yellow and greenish grey, feed totally on buds, flowers and fruit. Nevertheless, eggs are additionally typically laid on small rosettes, particularly if the bigger crops within the space are senescent. That is overwhelmingly a species of grassland and steppe and happens in wooded areas solely alongside roadsides.”
Shapiro, who has been monitoring the butterfly inhabitants of central California since 1972, says the Checkered White adults go to mustards, composites, legumes “and virtually anything; they’re typically ample in irrigated alfalfa and go to its flowers freely. Males patrol in host-plant areas and sometimes mate with teneral females.”