North American Butterflies and Moths List

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The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Giant White (Ganyra josephina)
JPG -- species photo

Great White (Ganyra josephina [Godart])

Wing span: 2 7/8 - 3 3/4 inches (7.3 - 9.6 cm).

Identification: Large. Cell of upper forewing of male contains prominent round black spot. Wet-season female has black cell spot and also diffuse black postmedian spots. Veins outlined with black near wing margins. Dry-season female not so prominently marked.

Life history: Female lays single eggs on older host plant leaves, which the caterpillars then eat.

Flight: From September-December in south Texas.

Caterpillar hosts: Trees in the caper (Capparidaceae) family.

Adult food: Flower nectar including lantana, eupatorium, and bougainvilla.

Habitat: Open, dry, subtropical forests.

Range: South from south Texas through Mexico and Central America. A rare stray to Kansas and New Mexico.

Conservation: Not required for periodic stray.

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.


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.

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

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Giant White (Ganyra josephina)
distribution map
map legend

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