Checkered white adult females have extensive black and white markings on the upper side of the wings. Males are whiter, with sparse markings resembling the female's pattern. Yellow-brown scales zigzag across the underside of the hindwing. Some summer males are virtually all white below, but the dark square near the leading edge of the forewing is visible both above and below. Males and females show slightly different color patterns at different times of the year — in early spring and late fall, adults tend to be darker and more heavily patterned.
Larvae have light yellow-green and darker grayish-green stripes running lengthwise down the body, small black tubercles, and numerous short dark hairs.
Habitat and Conservation
Biologists who study butterflies, skippers, and moths are called lepidopterists. They go far beyond just butterfly collecting. They seek to understand mating and reproductive strategies, dispersal mechanisms, plant-insect interactions, and more. Their research can shed light on new ways to increase crop yields from the food plants we and butterflies share.
Before the arrival of the European cabbage butterfly, the checkered white was an economically important pest on cabbage in Missouri. But today, the checkered white is less common in gardens, and it is only a minor pest of cabbage-family crops; it prefers food plants growing in waste areas and along roadsides.