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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Pine White - Neophasia menapia

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.3-3.0 cm. Base color white. Uppersurface (and lower surface) of forewing costa lined in black from wing base to cell and curving around to form a black cell end-bar, apical area of wing extensively black containing a series of submarginal pale spots; black chain-like pattern on hindwing trailing edge. Undersurface of male hindwing with veins lined narrowly in black; veins of female more heavily marked in black, orange-red edging present, with a submarginal black stripe. Flight weak and floating.

One flight, mainly late July to early September (Scott 1986). July to early September (Glassberg 2001). Mid-July to early September in Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-July to early September in southcentral Colorado (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978), late June to early October in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), mid-July to mid-October in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-July to late September in British Columbia (Threatful 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by combination of white base color, forewing costa lined in black from wing base to cell and curving around to form a black cell end-bar, apical area of wing extensively black containing a series of submarginal pale spots; undersurface of hindwing in males with thin black lines marking veins, females with heavy black markings on veins and orange-red edging present; flight of both sexes weak and floating.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Southern British Columbia and southwest Alberta south throughout western US to southern California, southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, east to Black Hills of South Dakota and adjacent pine forests of western Nebraska (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001); 1615 m to 3353 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), sea level to 2438 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005), 518 m to 2042 m elevation in British Columbia (Threatful 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001). In Montana, reported from at least 23 counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), mostly in the western 1/2 of state but in the eastern 1/2 where pine forest present (although so far documented only as far southeast as Big Horn County), to at least 2316 m elevation. Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 39

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



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

Non-migratory. Experience occasional population explosions and appear beyond normal range within localized areas (Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011).

Pine forest, mixed conifer forest, forest edges, urban neighborhoods with conifers (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Threatful 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from woodlands (Debinski 1993); in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem reported from pine and fir forests (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).

Food Habits
Larval food plants various species of conifers, including Abies (multiple species), Cedrus, Picea, Pinus (several species, but especially P. ponderosa), Pseudotsuga, and Tsuga (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Achillea, Anaphalis, Berteroa, Carduus, Centaurea, Cirsium, Cleome, Erigeron, Grindelia, Heterotheca, Jacobaea, Leontodon, Lepidium, Lobelia, Machaeranthera, Raphanus, Rudbeckia, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyothrichum, and Tanacetum (Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs in a single row of 3-22 eggs on host plant leaf (needle) near top of tree (Scott 1986). Eggs hatch in about 14-16 days after overwintering and exposure to warming spring temperatures. Develop from L1 instar to L5 instar and pupae in about 63 days, pupation occurs on lower branches of host plant or on ground and adjacent shrubs. L1 and L2 instars gregarious, L3 to L5 instars generally solitary. Eggs overwinter, larvae fed on needles, build no nest (Scott 1979, 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011). Females often rest in upper conifer canopy, males patrol slowly around host trees throughout the day in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
    • Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
    • Debinski, D.M. and J.A. Pritchard. 2002. A field guide to the butterflies of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Lanham, MD: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. 107 p.
    • Emmel, T.C. 1964. The ecology and distribution of butterflies in a montane community near Florissant, Colorado. American Midland Naturalist 72(2): 358-373.
    • Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
    • Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
    • Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
    • James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
    • Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
    • Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
    • Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
    • Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
    • Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
    • Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
    • Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
    • Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
    • Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
    • Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
    • Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
    • Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
    • Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
    • Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
    • Debinski, D. M. 1991. Inventory and monitoring of biodiversity: an assessment of methods and a case study of Glacier National Park, MT. Ph.D. Dissertation. Montana State University, Bozeman. 205 p.
    • Forister, M.L., C.A. Halsch, C.C. Nice, J.A. Fordyce, T.E. Dilts, J.C. Oliver, K.L. Prudic, A.M. Shapiro, J.K. Wilson, J. Glassberg. 2021. Fewer butterflies seen by community scientists across the warming and drying landscapes of the American West. Science 371:1042-1045.
    • Forister, M.L., E.M. Grames, C.A. Halsch, K.J. Burls, C.F. Carroll, K.L. Bell, J.P. Jahner, et al. 2023. Assessing risk for butterflies in the context of climate change, demographic uncertainty, and heterogeneous data sources. Ecological Monographs 93(3):e1584.
    • Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
    • Maxell, B.A. 2016. Northern Goshawk surveys on the Beartooth, Ashland, and Sioux Districts of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest: 2012-2014. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 114pp.
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Pine White — Neophasia menapia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from