Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults. Wingspan 40–52 mm; the fringes conspicuously light-and-dark banded. Slender-bodied to medium built; short-bodied. The eyes glabrous. Antennae reaching noticeably less than halfway to the wingtips to reaching about halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs abrupt; flattened (blunt, pale-tipped). Labial palps ascending (appressed to the frons). Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt. The outer and hind margins angled at about 102–105 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved to more or less straight. Uppersides of the forewings white; with a conspicuous discal mark (this dark, trapezoid or rectangular and relatively large, sometimes extending to the costa); with a fuscous discal spot extending to the costa, and a fuscous apical blotch reaching the middle of the termen and containing four pale spots.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded. Uppersides of the hindwings white; conspicuously patterned (grey-chequered), or plain (more or less, with only pale grey patterning transmitted from the underside); without a discal mark; of the female with more or less confluent series of terminal and subterminal dark spots, the males plainer.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings differing from the uppersides, being white with a larger discal spot, this and the apical blotch black-sprinkled greenish instead of fuscous.

Undersides of the hindwings black-sprinkled pale dull greenish, darker basally, with a white post-median fascia and large white spots, two costal, one discal and a terminal series; with a white discal spot, which is rendered inconspicuous by the overall marbling.

Wing venation. Forewings 11 veined; without basally dilated veins. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b simple. Forewings with a discal cell; vein 2 departing from the cell less than three-quarters of the distance from its base (from about 2/3 out). Forewing veins 7 and 8 on a stalk from 6, 9 connate with the base of 6 on the cell, 10 separate from the top of the cell, 11 free. “The subcostal nervure 3-branched” (Kirby).

Hindwings 8 veined; with a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings with a closed discal cell; the transverse vein complete. 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins all arising independently of one another.

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs truncate-fusiform; longitudinally ribbed. The larvae associated with ants in the early instars (attracting them via secretions presented at the forked tips of long glandular setae); hairy. On Reseda.

Pupae ridged and angular; conspicuously patterned (black-dotted and marked with yellow); without shining-metallic markings; exposed, with no coccoon; not suspended, but attached at the tail and secured by a median girdle of silk.

British representation. 1 species. Pontia daplidice (Bath White). The adults abroad August.

Status in Britain. Rare ocurrence representing occasional, genuine immigrants.

Distribution. English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, and Isle of Wight. Frequenting open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Pieridae.

Illustrations. • Pontia daplidice (Bath White: B. Ent. 48). • Pontia daplidice: B. Ent. 48, legend+text. • Pontia daplidice: B. Ent. 48, text cont.. • Pontia daplidice (Bath White, male): Hübner. • Pontia daplidice (Bath White, female): photo. • Larva and pupa of Pontia daplidice: Duponchel (1849). • Pontia daplidice (Bath White): larva and pupa.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.