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Butterflies of North America -- Ascia monuste

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Butterflies of North America

Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)
JPG -- species photo

Great Southern White (Ascia monuste [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 3 3/8 inches (6.3 - 8.6 cm).

Identification: Upper surface of male forewing white with black zigzag pattern on outer margin. Dry season female form resembles male with heavier black zigzag pattern and a small black spot in the wing cell. Wet-season female is darkened with black scales above and below.

Life history: Males patrol for females. Eggs are laid on the upper surface of host plant leaves in groups of about 20.

Flight: All year in South Texas, peninsular Florida, and along the Gulf Coast.

Caterpillar hosts: Mustard family (Brassicaceae) plants including beach cabbage (Cakile maritima), cultivated cabbage and radish, peppergrass (Lepidium species); and plants in the caper family (Capparidaceae) including nasturtium.

Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers including saltwort, lantana, and verbena.

Habitat: Salt marshes, coastal dunes, open fields, and gardens.

Range: Resident of south Atlantic and Gulf coasts south through tropical America. Migratory along the Southeastern coast. Strays to Maryland, Kansas, and Colorado.

Conservation: Not usually required.

Management needs: None noted.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

References:

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.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin 
     Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Great Southern White (Ascia monuste)
distribution map
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