Pine White (Neophasia menapia) (C. and R. Felder, 1859)
Diagnosis: A medium-sized, mostly white butterfly with a black edge to the forewing and heavy black markings on the wing tips. The female also has black markings along the margin of the hindwing upperside and has bright orange or red outlining the black marks on the underside of the hindwing. Wingspan: 42 to 50 mm.
Subspecies: Only the nominate subspecies is found in Canada.
Range: The Pine White is restricted to pine woods in western North America, from sea level into mountainous areas. In Canada, it reaches into southern British Columbia, including Vancouver Island, north to Chilcotin in the Fraser Valley and the Bella Coola Valley on the coast. There are a few old records from Alberta near Banff in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. One stray has been taken in northern Minnesota about 100 miles from the Manitoba border.
Similar Species: The Pine White differs from all other western whites by the black band along the leading edge on the forewing, which is attached to a black bar at the end of the cell.
Early Stages: The tiny, green eggs are laid in a row, unlike the singly deposited eggs of most other North American whites. The green larvae have a purplish tinge and white stripes running down the sides and back, with two short tails. There are two forms of the pupae, believed to be yellowish green in the male and dark brown in the female (Scott, 1986). The larvae feed on various conifers, e.g., Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea).
Abundance: Occasional outbreaks of this species have been recorded in the western U.S., when it can become a pest by defoliating trees. There have been no recorded outbreaks in Canada, but infestations have occurred around Mount Rainier in northern Washington State (Howe, 1975).
Flight Season: The Pine White is mainly on the wing in July and August.
Habits: Unlike most other whites, the Pine White tends to flutter weakly high in the trees and only occasionally comes down to nectar on flowers.
Remarks: Although superficially resembling other western pierids, the Pine White is more closely related to a South American genus of whites (Catasticta).
© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.
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