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checkered white

checkered white (Pontia protodice) [female]
Photos © Mary Kay Rubey

Features and Behaviors

The checkered white butterfly has a wingspan of 1.75 to 2.25 inches. The male has dark spots on the upperside of the forewings. The underside of his hindwings is white or white with faint markings. The female shows gray or brown checkered marks on the upperside of both wings. The underside of her hindwings shows a light-brown, zigzag pattern with light-brown marks on the wing veins.

Found statewide, this species lives in old fields, prairies, pastures and other dry, open habitats. Adults feed on flower nectar. Larvae eat common pepper-grass (Lepidium virginicum) and possibly other plants. Adults are active from March through October. The species overwinters in the chrysalis stage.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pieridae

Illinois Status: common, native