West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/8 inches (4.5 - 5.3 cm).
Identification: Wings are translucent, whitish, with no yellowish tint underneath. Underside of hindwings with blurry brown or pale gray scaling along veins.
Life history: Males patrol slowly to locate females. Eggs are laid singly on undersides of host plant leaves. Chrysalids hibernate on stems or plant litter under the plant.
Flight: In the North, one flight in May; in the South, one flight from April-May.
Caterpillar hosts: Toothworts (Dentaria diphylla and D. laciniata) in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family.
Adult food: Flower nectar from toothworts, spring beauty, violets, and other plants.
Habitat: Moist deciduous woodlands or mixed woods.
Range: Northern Great Lakes states and from New England southwest along the Appalachians to north Georgia and northeast Alabama.
Conservation: A species of native, relatively undisturbed habitats. Declining due to timbering, development, and spread of garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis).
Management needs: Control spread of garlic mustard. Ensure timbering intensity allows recovery of sufficient habitats on local scale.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Brownell, V. R. 1981. The West Virginia White Butterfly (Artogeia virginiensis Edwards) in Canada: a status report. Nongame Program, Wildlife Branch, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mainguy, S. K. and M. J. Sharp. 1989. THe status of the West Virginia White Butterfly (Artogeia virginiensis) in Ontario. The Landplan Collaborative Ltd., Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.