Pontia protodice

Checkered (or Common) White

A common white found nearly anywhere outside urban areas and most of the year. Much less common in suburban gardens than the Cabbage White, which thrives in gardens, while protodice uses a variety of native and non-native mustards. I've only seen them once or twice in my garden in Long Beach, but they do fly in open areas where there are wild mustards even within cities. In rural fields, they can be abundant. Females are more heavily patterned than males. I've found the caterpillars a few times on wild mustards - they use just about anything in that family. This is our native "common" white butterfly; Pieris rapae has taken that role in populated areas, but it's a relatively recent (1860s) migrant.

Checkered White - Pontia protodice
A male Pontia protodice sipping roadside mustards east of Big Bear Lake. Males can show nearly all-white undersides. May 28, 2017.
Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Another male nectaring at California Buckwheat in Riverside Co., September 4, 2011.
Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Female Checkered White - Pontia protodice - McGill Trail below Mt. Piños. August 7, 2007.
Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Female protodice at Malibu Creek State Park, July 26, 2005.
Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Male Checkered White - Pontia protodice - at Mystic Canyon in the San Gabriels, May 28, 2006.
Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Male protodice at Bolsa Chica, OC, April 10, 2008.
Larva of Checkered White - Pontia protodice
Larva of a Checkered White at Icehouse Canyon near Mt. Baldy. May 31, 2008.

©Dennis Walker