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Great Southern White Ascia monuste


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Great Southern White
credit: leppyone/CCSA

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Family: Pieridae, Whites and Sulphurs view all from this family

Description The Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) is a species of butterfly of the Pieridae family in which the sexes differ in that the female can be either light or dark colored. It is found from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, south through tropical America to Argentina. Migratory along the south-eastern coast of the United States, with strays to Maryland, Kansas and Colorado.

The wingspan is 63-86 mm. Adults are on wing all year round in southern Texas, peninsular Florida and along the Gulf Coast.

Ascia monuste is an example of a migrating species which moves in one direction within its life-span and does not return. It breeds in Florida but sometimes migrates along the coast up to 160 kilometers to breed in more suitable areas.

The larvae feed on Brassicaceae (including Cakile maritima, cultivated cabbage and radish and Lepidium species) and plants in the Capparidaceae family, including nasturtium. Adults feed on nectar from various flowers including saltwort, lantana and verbena. It is a sporadic pest of crucifer vegetables in southern Texas.

Dimensions 1 3/4-2 1/4" (44-57 mm).

Habitat Meadows & fields, Shorelines & salt marshes.

Range Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Texas, Southeast.