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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Becker's White - Pontia beckerii


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.2-2.7 cm. White base color. Uppersurface with strong square black patch at end of forewing cell, smaller black marks on outer third of forewing and hindwing; undersurface of forewing with large black box at end of cell with relatively thin yellow-green borders along vein tips, hindwing with broad yellow-green borders along veins.

Phenology
Two to four flights; mostly April to September, March to October in southern Nevada (Scott 1986). Mainly May to August, March to August in southwestern deserts (Glassberg 2001). Early April to October in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-March to mid-September in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), late March to mid-September in Oregon (Warren 2005), late April to late-September in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by the strong square black patch at end of forewing cell, smaller black marks on outer third of forewing and hindwing, undersurface of forewing with thin yellow-green borders along vein tips, hindwing with broad yellow-green borders along veins.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Southern British Columbia south through interior western US (primarily between the Sierra-Cascade crest and the continental divide) to central Baja California, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, east to southern Montana, eastern Wyoming, eastern Colorado (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1481 m to 2438 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), near sea level to at least 2743 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported throughout the western 1/3 of the state and in the south as far east as Custer County, from 1030 m to 1661 m elevation (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database). Uncommon to common, rare in the Sierra Nevada (Glassberg 2001).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 6

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Arid lands, sagebrush-steppe, juniper woodland, desert canyons and hills (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar; in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem reported from arid brushland, fields, foothill canyons, lower mountains (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include the mustard genera Arabis, Brassica, Cleome, Descurainia, Isatis, Lepidium, Schoenocrambe, Sisymbrium, Stanleya, and Thelypodium (Emmel et al. 1971; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Pyle 2002; Graves and Shapiro 2003; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Allium, Centaurea, Chrysothamnus, Cleome, Cryptantha, Eriogonum, Medicago, Melilotus, Phlox) and mud (Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant flower buds, leaves, stems, seed pods (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006); a captive female laid about 100 eggs in 4 days (James and Nunnalee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 3 days (depending on temperature), develop rapidly from L1 instar to L4 instar and pupate in about 14 days post egg-hatch; adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about 6-11 days, either during spring/summer or after exiting winter hibernation (Scott 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Larvae fed on host plant flower buds and fruits, are solitary, build no nest, sometimes wander off host plant to pupate, overwinter (hibernate) as pupae (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day up and down gullies and canyons in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Becker's White — Pontia beckerii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from