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Montana Field Guides

Large Marble - Euchloe ausonides

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 1.6-2.4 cm. Antennae checkered with some black. Uppersurface cream to off-white, forewing with a black-patterned apex encompassing a circular white spot along costa, narrow black bar in forewing cell with scattered white scales in middle, costal border only lightly checked with black and white; undersurface ground color buffy off-white, forewing with some yellow-green marbling at apex, hindwing with veins noticeably yellower than complex green marbling.

One flight, mostly May to early July, two flights March to June at low elevation in northern California (Scott 1986). Mainly May to August, depending on elevation (Glassberg 2001). Mid-April to late July in Colorado (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Scott and Epstein 1987), late March to late August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), early April to mid-July in Oregon (Warren 2005), May to early August in British Columbia, depending on elevation (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of creamy-white color, forewing with a black-patterned apex encompassing a circular white spot along costa, narrow black bar in forewing cell with scattered white scales in middle; undersurface of forewing with some yellow-green marbling at apex, hindwing with veins noticeably yellower than complex green marbling.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Eastern Alaska, Yukon Territory, western Northwest Territories east across boreal Canada to southern Ontario and the Great Lakes region, in the US to western North Dakota and South Dakota, western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, south in the west to central California, in the east to northern New Mexico (Opler 1968; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1875 m to 3449 m elevation in Colorado (Opler 1968; Scott and Scott 1978), to at least to at least 2926 m elevation in Wyoming (Opler 1968), to at least 3353 m elevation in California (Opler 1968), 46 m to at least 2652 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005), sea level to almost 2743 m elevation in Washington (James and Nunnallee 2011). In Montana, reported from all but the northeastern 1/6 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; Butterflies and Moths of North America database), to at least 2195 m in Glacier National Park (Opler 1968). Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 24

(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; adult straight-line movements average < 500 m but may reach several kilometers (Scott 1975a, 1975c, 1986).

Open places, stream margins, desert washes, hillsides, dry or wet foothill and montane meadows, forest paths, farmland (Brown 1957; Emmel 1964; Opler 1968; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Warren 2005). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from transition areas and mesic montane meadows (Debinski 1993); in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, reported in open forest, fields, meadows (Debinski and Pritchard 2002).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include native and exotic species such as Arabis (several species), Barbarea, Brassica (several species), Descurainia, Draba, Erysimum, Hirschfeldia, Isatis, Lepidium, Raphanus, Schoencrambe, Sinapis, Sisymbrium (multiple species), and Thelypodium (Opler 1974; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Graves and Shapiro 2003; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Alcea, Amsinckia, Arabis, Arnica, Barbarea, Berberis, Brassica, Brodiaea, Calochortus, Cardamine, Cerastium, Cirsium, Draba, Erodium, Erysimum, Eschscholzia, Heterotheca, Lesquerella, Mertensia, Plantago, Potentilla, Prunus, Ranunculus, Raphanus, Rubus, Senecio, Sisrinchium, Taraxacum, Thlaspi, Townsendia, Trifolium, Wyethia) and mud (Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant flower buds and inflorescences, rarely on leaves (Opler 1974; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Number of eggs per ovariole (1/8 of total) about 70 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1978). Eggs hatch in about 4 days, develop from L1 instar to L5 instar and pupate in another 18 days (depending on temperature). Larvae solitary, feed on all parts of host plant, rest among flower clusters, build no nest (Scott 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011). Overwinter (diapause) as pupae, usually on host plant (Opler 1974; Scott 1979, 1986; James and Nunnallee 2011), adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in spring if from an overwintering cohort. Males patrol throughout the day in open areas and valley bottoms in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

  • 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.
    • Ehrlich, A.H. and P.R. Ehrlich. 1978. Reproductive strategies in the butterflies: I. Mating frequency, plugging, and egg number. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 51(4): 666-697.
    • 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.
    • 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. 1968. Studies of Nearctic Euchloe. Part 5. Distribution. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 7(2): 65-86.
    • Opler, P.A. 1974. Studies of Nearctic Euchloe. Part 7. Comparative life histories, hosts, and the morphology of immature stages. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 13: 1-20.
    • 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. 1975a. Movements of Euchloe ausonides (Pieridae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 29(1): 24-31.
    • Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
    • Scott, J.A. 1975c. Flight patterns among eleven species of diurnal Lepidoptera. Ecology 56(6): 1367-1377.
    • 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.
    • Scott, J.A. and M.E. Epstein. 1987. Factors affecting phenology in a temperate insect community. American Midland Naturalist 117(1): 103-118.
    • 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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Large Marble — Euchloe ausonides.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from