Becker's White - Pontia beckerii
[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.
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).
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.
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).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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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).
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).
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).
- 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.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, J.F., O. Shields, and D.E. Breedlove. 1970. Larval foodplant records for North American Rhopalocera Part 2. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 9(4): 233-242.
- 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.
- Graves, S.D. and A.M. Shapiro. 2003.Exotics as host plants of the California butterfly fauna. Biological Conservation 110: 413-433.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- Sater, S. 2022. The insects of Sevenmile Creek, a pictorial guide to their diversity and ecology. Undergraduate Thesis. Helena, MT: Carroll College. 242 p.
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