Overview

Brief Summary

North American Ecology (US and Canada)

Resident in western North America (Scott 1986). Habitats are DESERT TO PINE FOREST. Host plants are usually herbaceous with most known hosts largely restricted to a few species in one family, Cruciferae. Eggs are laid on the host plant singly. Individuals overwinter as pupae. There are is one flight each year with the approximate flight time MAY15-JUN30 in the northern part of the range and FEB1-MAY30 in the southern part of their range (Scott 1986). Listed as Pieris sisymbrii by Scott (1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Comprehensive Description

General Description

The Spring White (Pontia sisymbrii) is the easiest species to distinguish of the three Pontia whites; the dark vein markings on the hindwing underside are not connected laterally, and it occurs only in montane woodlands and extreme northern Alberta. Females have a yellow flush to them, unlike the Western and Checkered Whites. Alberta populations are the nominate subspecies. Mountain populations are referable to subspecies flavitincta, and our northern boreal populations are the recently-described subspecies beringiensis Guppy & Kondla (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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Distribution

Primarily a species of the western mountainous regions, occuring from the Yukon south into northern Mexico (Opler 1999). The northern populations (Yukon, NWT, northern B.C. and northern AB) are geographically isolated from those further south.
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) All western provinces and states from Yukon Territory to Baja California, and east to Black Hills of South Dakota, to western Nebraska, and to eastern New Mexico.

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Ecology

Habitat

Open, often rocky conifer woodlands.
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Comments: Open coniferous forests, rocky deserts, arroyos, steppes and others. In Olympics and Sierra Nevada, alpine hills.

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Migration

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.

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Trophic Strategy

Larval food plants are not known in Alberta. In BC, females lay eggs on wild mustard (Arabis sp.) (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Males patrol for females (Scott, 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Cyclicity

One brood annually, with peak flight activity between early and late June.
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Life Cycle

The eggs are conical and elongated, and turn orange soon after they are laid (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Mature larvae have black lateral line and are light yellow with yellow bands separating the segments dorsally and laterally (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Puape are dark brown with darker spots, and have a rough texture (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pontia sisymbrii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not of concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

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

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Management

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

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Wikipedia

Pontia sisymbrii

The Spring White, California White, or Colorado White (Pontia sisymbrii) is a butterfly in the family Pieridae. It is found in mountainous areas of western Canada and the USA.[1]

It is mostly white with small black markings; females may be yellowish. Similar to other checkered whites such as, Pontia beckerii, Pontia protodice, and Pontia occidentalis.[1][2]

The wingspan is 31 to 40 millimeters.[1]

The host plants are Cruciferae, Caulanthus, Streptanthus, and Sisymbrium altissimum, Arabis glabra, Arabis furcata, and Arabis holboelli.[3]

Subspecies[edit]

Listed alphabetically.[3]

  • P. s. elivata (Barnes & Benjamin, 1926)
  • P. s. flavitincta (Comstock, 1924)
  • P. s. nigravenosa Austin & Emmel, ?2003
  • P. s. sisymbrii
  • P. s. transversa Holland, 1995

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Spring White, Butterflies of Canada
  2. ^ Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  3. ^ a b Pontia, funet.fi
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