North American Ecology (US and Canada)
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Neotropics. In US, coast of Gulf of Mexico, S. Texas, and Florida. Sporadic emigration up Mississippi as far north as Kansas and up Atlantic coast as far north as Virginia.
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Comments: Beaches and dunes, salt marshes, coastal plains, offshore islands, sandy flats. Less often disturbed areas.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Ascia monuste
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ascia monuste
Public Records: 15
Specimens with Barcodes: 63
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread neotropical species. Seasonal migration patterns poorly understood.
Degree of Threat: D : Unthreatened throughout its range, communities may be threatened in minor portions of the range or degree of variation falls within natural variation
Global Protection: Unknown whether any occurrences are appropriately protected and managed
The Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) is the only species of butterfly of the genus Ascia of the Pieridae family. In this species the sexes may differ with the female being either light or dark colored. It is found from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, south through tropical America to Argentina. Migratory along the south-eastern coast of the United States, with strays to Maryland, Kansas, and Colorado.
The wingspan is 63–86 mm. Adults are on wing all year round in southern Texas, peninsular Florida and along the Gulf Coast.
Ascia monuste is an example of a migrating species that moves in one direction within its life-span and does not return. It breeds in Florida but sometimes migrates along the coast up to 160 km to breed in more suitable areas.
The larvae feed on Brassicaceae (including Cakile maritima, cultivated cabbage and radish and Lepidium species) and plants in the Capparidaceae family, including nasturtium. Adults feed on nectar from various flowers including saltwort, lantana, and verbena. It is a sporadic pest of crucifer vegetables in southern Texas.
- Ascia monuste monuste (southern USA to Surinam)
- Ascia monuste phileta
- Ascia monuste virginia (West Indies, St. Vincent)
- Ascia monuste eubotea (Cuba)
- Ascia monuste orseis (Brazil, Argentina)
- Ascia monuste suasa (Peru)
- Ascia monuste automate (Argentina)
- Ascia monuste raza (Baja California Sur)
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