Florida White (Appias drusilla [Skinner])
Wing span: 2 1/8 - 3 inches (5.3 - 7.7 cm).
Identification: Male is solid white on both upper and lower surfaces of wings except for a narrow edging of black along the forewing costal margin. Female has 2 forms: the dry-season form is all white; the wet season form has black along the forewing costal margin and a yellow-orange upper hindwing.
Life history: Males patrol with erratic flight, searching for females. Females lay single eggs at tips of developing host plant leaves. Caterpillars are shade-loving and feed during the night and on cloudy days.
Flight: Dry-season form from October-April, wet-season form from May-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Various plants in the caper family (Capparidaceae) including Guinea plum (Capparis lateriflora) in Florida.
Adult food: Flower nectar from a variety of weeds and garden plants including lantana and eupatorium.
Habitat: Tropical lowland evergreen or semideciduous forests.
Range: Tropical America from Brazil north to southern peninsular Florida and the Keys; Antilles. Frequently visits coastal Texas, rare stray to Nebraska and Colorado.
Conservation: Preserve hardwood hammock habitat in southern Florida.
Management needs: Avoid mosquito fogging near this butterfly's habitat.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
DeVries, P. J. 1987. The butterflies of Costa Rica and their natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 327 pages, 50 color plates. 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, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.