New York Natural Heritage Program
Checkered White
Pontia protodice (Boisduval and Le Conte, [1830])

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Checkered whites are 44 to 62 mm. Upperside: Males have a black and white checkered-pattern on the outer half. The hindwing is white. Females are more heavily checkered above. Underside: The hindwing is faintly checkered in males. Females have a yellow-tan pattern on the hindwing and forewing apex (Opler and Malikul 1992). Both sexes have a quadrate black mark in the dorsal forewing cell (Opler and Krizek 1984). There are two forms noted: spring and summer. The male has one to three black marks in the postmedian forewing area. Its ventral hindwing is weakly veined with gray-green. The summer female is boldly marked with much black on the forewing and apex and outer margin of both wings. Ventrally, females' gray-green veins are much more distinct. The spring form of both sexes have strongly reduced black marks above, but very heavy green veining ventrally (Opler and Krizek 1984). The caterpillar is alternately striped yellow and purple-green. The body has many small tubercles (Opler and Malikul 1992).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]

Behavior [-]
Flight is low and erratic.

Diet [-]
Foodplants include species from the mustard and caper families.
Checkered White Images
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The Best Time to See
Shapiro (1974) states that there are four broods on Staten Island. Adults can be found March through November (Opler and Malikul 1992).
Present Active
The time of year you would expect to find Checkered White present (blue shading) and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
    Cabbage whites are uniformly yellow-green or gray-green and have a charcoal wingtips and distinctive single or double dorsal forewing spot. In addition to their similar appearance, both checkered whites and cabbage whites have a low and erratic flight pattern.