Pontia protodice - (Boisduval and Le Conte, [1830])
Checkered White
Synonym(s): Pieris protodice
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pontia protodice (Boisduval and Le Conte, 1830) (TSN 777781)
French Common Names: piéride damier
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.119987
Element Code: IILEPA1030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Pieridae Pontia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pontia protodice
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Sep2015
Global Status Last Changed: 14Sep2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Drastic decline in the Middle Atlantic region and apparently as far south as the Carolinas and Georgia. No longer appears widely most years northeast of the Carolinas except for one persistent colony in northern New Jersey and around New York City. Decline seems sufficient to make a rank of "demonstrably secure" no longer tenable since it is not now predictable whether the decline will spread westward or not. The species is apparently secure in the western USA for now. No state Natural Heritage Programs east of the Appalachians rank this species as demonstrably secure any more, not even Georgia or Florida. It still frequently reaches northern Indiana and parts of Ohio or did in the 1990s.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (02Dec1999)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,NNRM (24Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S4), Connecticut (SH), Delaware (SU), Florida (S4), Georgia (S4), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (S4), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S4), Maryland (S4), Michigan (S1S3), Minnesota (S4S5B), Mississippi (S4), Missouri (S4), Montana (S4), Nebraska (S4), Nevada (SNR), New Jersey (S2), New Mexico (SNR), New York (S1), North Carolina (S1S2), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (S4), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), South Carolina (S4), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4B), Utah (SNR), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4), Wyoming (SNR)
Canada Manitoba (S4), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SH), Saskatchewan (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Southern Canada south to northern Mexico. Absent from Pacific northwest. Absent in modern times in New England--the few old specimens do not suggest it was ever resident there. Increasingly erratic east of the Appalachians.

Area of Occupancy: 2,501 to >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Severely threatened or gone eastward but seemingly doing ok in west. Threats probably include exotic parasitoids associated with, and perhaps even direct competition from, the exotic Pieris rapae. Habitat loss does not seem a plausible explanation although the increase of lawns, asphalt and forest in the Northeast have contributed a little. Notably northeastward this species persists in areas where almost no other butterflies and not much of anything else can persist, strongly suggesting it is limited by biotic factors. Also all native Pieridae have declined in most of the east--this one more than the rest.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Seems secure westward, but a major decline eastward seems to be accelerating and the species is absent most years now in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware (Schweitzer, pers. obs. 1964-2000). C. Ludwig and S. Hall (pers. comm. to Schweitzer) point out it is now scarce even in Virginia and most of the Carolinas. In New Jersey it seems very persistent and at times abundant at Newark International Airport even in years when no others are observed in or anywhere near the state, but is not known to occur regularly anywhere else in the 13 state northeastern region except spottily in and immediately adjacent to New York City. No actual southern New Jersey specimens since about 1964. The species was very common there for many years through the 1950s. There was one credible report there in the 1990s and at least one in spring 2000. Brock and Kaufman (2003) map it as uncommon in the entire eastern portion of the United States except Florida, although it certainly is less rare west of the Appalachians than east of them. So has declined significantly in about half the range and to extirpation as a resident in perhaps 15%. No reports of decline in western USA.

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: None, common weedy species westward and no apparent way to protect it eastward where decline is pervasive. Perhaps worthwhile to protect the now isolated New Jersey EO.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Southern Canada south to northern Mexico. Absent from Pacific northwest. Absent in modern times in New England--the few old specimens do not suggest it was ever resident there. Increasingly erratic east of the Appalachians.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WY
Canada MB, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Buncombe (37021), Burke (37023), Cabarrus (37025), Chatham (37037), Durham (37063), Forsyth (37067), Gates (37073), Granville (37077), Harnett (37085), Mecklenburg (37119), Richmond (37153), Wake (37183), Wayne (37191)
NJ Bergen (34003)*, Burlington (34005)*, Camden (34007)*, Cape May (34009)*, Essex (34013), Gloucester (34015)*, Hudson (34017)*, Middlesex (34023)*, Monmouth (34025)*, Morris (34027)*, Ocean (34029)*, Passaic (34031)*, Salem (34033), Somerset (34035)*, Union (34039)
NY Queens (36081)
PA Berks (42011), Lehigh (42077), Philadelphia (42101)*, Schuylkill (42107)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Lower Hudson (02030101)+*, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+*, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Raritan (02030105)+*, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+*, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+*, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+*
03 Ghowan (03010203)+, Upper Neuse (03020201)+, Haw (03030002)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Upper Yadkin (03040101)+, Upper Pee Dee (03040104)+, Rocky, North Carolina, (03040105)+, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, South Fork Catawba (03050102)+, Lower Catawba (03050103)+
06 Upper French Broad (06010105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Butterfly, Pieridae.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Virtually any disturbed dry open area such as vacant lots, railroads, airports, dry grassland, deserts and cities. Sometimes in sparsely wooded areas but not in heavy shade.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Food Comments: Caterpillar Hosts: Plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) including cabbage (Brassica oleraceae); and caper family (Capparidaceae) including Rocky Mountain bee-plant (Cleome serrulata). Adult Food: Flower nectar including hedge-mustards, composites, and alfalfa (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Pieridae, General

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or recently has occurred, where there is potential for continued occurrence or regular recurrence. Minimally a place with a verified collection or photograph or in exceptional cases a sight record from an expert in association with larval foodplants in suitable habitat. Verification standards may vary by species and location, for example there is only one species of Anthocaris in the entire east so sight records would be more reasonable to accept there than in some western regions.
Mapping Guidance: Usually, but not always habitat boundaries are discernable based on vegetation type or structure, but in some cases they will be defined more by distribution of the larval foodplant. Include adjacent nectaring areas as habitat. Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences.
Separation Barriers: Very little information. At least some species such as patrolling male COLIAS routinely recognize and stay within habitat boundaries, but during other circumstances they readily leave them and at least some open country species very readily fly over forests and through or over cities, for example COLIAS PHILODICE, C. EURYTHEME, PIERIS RAPAE, P. PROTODICE.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 4 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: When dealing with multiple occurrences within the same large scale natural community such as COLIAS INTERIOR in openings in a large barrens complex, consider the occurrence a metapopulation and apply the suitable habitat distance. Also both distances may be lowered in very cold environments where sustained flight is almost always impossible except in highly sheltered warm microclimates. However do this very conservatively for suitable habitat distance since.
Separation Justification: These are strong flying dispersive to migratory species that easily travel several km per hour at least during warm sunny weather. Recall a meter per second, about right for the slowest species is 3.6 km per hour. While the species no doubt vary in their dispersive or colonial tendencies these figures seem reasonable in the absence of actual data. Both figures are arbitrary.

For woodland or forest species use the ten kilometer distance when assessing multiple "colonies" on wooded ridges, or in large canyons etc. As with most Lepidoptera all contiguous suitable habitat is likely to be occupied to some degree so there is little chance two collections only ten kilometers apart across largely suitable habitat would really be separate occurrences.

For species that routinely move along and into forest patches or through a dominant landscape feature that often has foodplants use the suitable habitat distance for marginal habitats. Likewise for feature adults like to follow such as forest edges for Anthocharis midea or edges, railroads and sand roads for some Eurema.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: In practice most occurrences will occupy a few hundred hectares or less and in such cases the inferred extent is simply all available habitat. Exceptions are most likely to occur among woodland species such as ANTHOCARIS for which foodplants are scattered more sparsely or patchily over large areas forcing at least females to move around a lot to find them. Use the 1 kilometer figure only with extensive habitat or proximate patches along a feature such as a ridgeline. As with most butterflies populations will usually occupy most of the potential habitat at least during good weather or favorable years. Beware though that in cold conditions at least Colias and presumably others concentrate in low, sheltered, sunny spots and appear more sedentary than they really are. Even the highly dispersive and somewhat migratory COLIAS EURYTHEME becomes intensely localized and sedentary in southern New Jersey from about mid November through February when sun angle is too low for the butterflies to reach optimum flight temperature even on warm days. Arctic and alpine species are also most active and dispersive on warm sunny days. It is unlikely that 1 kilometer will prove realistic except in arctic and alpine situations, for now there are insufficient observations to justify a larger figure.
Date: 14Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Boreal forest or woodland PIERIS of the NAPI complex are included for now but may need different SPECS. The two which are reasonably well known are P. OLERACEA for which these SPECS should be suitable and P. VIRGINIENSIS which needs and has its own SPECS.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 10May2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F., Paul Opler
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 09May2001

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Belth, Jeffrey E. 2013. Butterflies of Indiana A Field Guide. Indiana University Press.Bloomington, IN.

  • Bess, James. 2002. A Preliminary Report on the Moth Fauna of Indiana Old Growth Forest Remnants. Submitted to IDNR Division of Nature Preserves.

  • COVELL, C.V., JR. 1999. THE BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS (LEPIDOPTERA) OF KENTUCKY: AN ANNOTATED CHECKLIST. KENTUCKY STATE NATURE PRESERVES COMMISSION SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERIES 6:1-220.

  • General Status 2015, Environment Canada. 2015. Manitoba butterfly species list and subnational ranks proposed by Environment Canada contractor.

  • Holmes, A.M., Q.F. Hess, R.R. Tasker and A.J. Hanks. 1991. The Ontario Butterfly Atlas. Toronto Entomologists' Association, Toronto, Ontario. viii + 167 pp.

  • Huber, R. L. 1981. An updated checklist of Minnesota butterflies. Minnesota Entomological Association Newsletter 14(3):15-25.

  • Klassen,P.,Westwood, A.R., Preston. W.B. and W.B. McKillop. 1989. The butterflies of Manitoba. Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. Winnipeg. 290 pp.

  • Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario. 280 pp.

  • Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2017. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Available online: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/ (Version December 2018).

  • NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: April 17, 2012 ).

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Opler, P.A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA. 396 pp.

  • Opler, Paul A. and G. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies East of the Great Plains. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Pohl, G.R.  J-F. Landry, B.C. Schmidt, J.D. Lafontaine, J.T. Troubridge, A.D. Macaulay, E.van Nieukerken, J.R. deWaard, J.J. Dombroskie, J. Klymko, V. Nazari and K. Stead. 2018. Annotated checklist of the moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Pensoft Publishers. 580 pp.

  • Riotte, J.C.E. 1992. Annotated List of Ontario Lepidoptera. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. 208 pp.

  • Schweitzer, D.F., M.C. Minno, and D.L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, Declining, and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States. USFS Technology Transter Bulletin, FHTET-2009-02.

  • Schweitzer, Dale. 1993-06-14. Memo to Eastern Regional Office region Heritage Program zoologists regarding Jeffrey Goldberg's Butterflies through Binoculars book and related comments on Element State Ranks.

  • Schweitzer, Dale. January 1997. Annotations to Special Invertebrate Animals of New Jersey, December 1996; sent to Rick Dutko of the NJ Natural Heritage Program.

  • Shapiro, A.M. 1974. Butterflies and skippers of New York State. Search 4:1-60.

  • Shuey, John. 1995. Indiana S-Ranks for Butterflies. Memorandum to Cloyce Hedge. 10 pp.

  • Shull, Ernest M. 1987. The Butterflies of Indiana. Publ. by Indiana Acad. Science, distributed by Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis, 262 pp.

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