A medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 3 inches and white clubs on the antennae. The male is solid white on both the upperside and underside, with a narrow black strip along the margin of the upper forewing and a small orange area at the base of the leading margin of the lower hindwing. The female has two forms: the dry-season (winter) form is all white; the wet-season (summer) form has the black and orange markings seen on the male, but both are larger on the female. The caterpillar is bluish-green with tiny dark blue and yellow spots, small yellow projections and two short tails at the posterior end.
South Florida, straying north to parts of North Florida and west to Texas; the West Indies, Central America and South America.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Locally uncommon to common in South Florida and the Keys; strays to Central and North Florida. Both adults and caterpillars present throughout the year. Dry-season females present October-April; wet-season females present May-September.
Coastal uplands, especially hammocks in the Florida Keys.
Three or more broods per year. The slender, whitish eggs are laid singly on the tips of developing leaves.
Caterpillars feed mostly during the night and on cloudy days. Adults often fly in shady areas along trails in hammocks. Males fly erratically, searching for females.
Native larval host plants include the cultivated trees Guiana-plum (Drypetes lateriflora), milkbark (Drypetes diversifolia) and Jamaidca caper-tree (Quadrella cynophallophora) and the cultivated shrub limber caper (Cynophalla flexuosa). Native nectar plants include the cultivated tree poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), the cultivated shrubs wild-sage (Lantana involucrata) and Florida Keys blackbead (Pithecellobium keyense), the cultivated vine yellowroot (Morinda royoc), the cultivated wildflowers narrowleaf yellowtops (Flaveria linearis), scorpionstail (Heliotropium angiospermum) and snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) and the weedy jack-in-the-bush (Chromolaena odorata) and Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata).
Gann, G.D., M.E. Abdo, J.W. Gann, G.D. Gann, Sr., S.W.
Woodmansee, K.A. Bradley, E. Grahl and K.N. Hines. 2005-2016. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.