|scientific name Neophasia menapia |
common name Pine White
Dry, montane woodlands.
One Annual brood, flying in August.
No other white has the black leading forewing edge, joined to the black mark at the end of the discal cell. Of the described subspecies, Canadian populations have been assigned to menapia (Bird et al. 1995, Layberry et al. 1998), but more recent treatments suggest the most appropriate name for our populations is tau (Austin 1998, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
The eggs overwinter after they are laid at the base of conifer needle clumps. They are bright green and flask-shaped with longitudinal ridges (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Mature larvae are dark green with a white dorsal and lateral stripe, and have short tails a t the posterior end (Guppy & Shepard 2001). The Pine White has occasional population outbreaks, and larvae can cause severe defoliation of conifers (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Adults spend a good deal of time among the uppermost branches of conifers, and descend to nectar at flowers, particularly in the morning and evening (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Undetermined status, likely an occasional stray.
No information is available for Alberta populations. In BC, larvae feed on conifers in the Pinaceae, including Amabilis fir, Douglas-fir, lodgepole-, white- and ponderosa pine, and western hemlock (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Southern half of BC south to California and New Mexico (Opler1999). There are only a few records for Alberta, all originating prior to 1923 from the Banff area (Bird et al. 1995). It is possible that these specimens represent occasional strays from adjacent areas of BC, and that this is not a resident species in Alberta.
Joe Belicek (2014-05-20)
Neophasia menapia (Felder & Felder, 1859) ? Pine White
(a) The Pine White buttefly belongs to a small nearctic genus Neophasia, containing only two species.
Neophasia menapia (Felder & Felder, 1859) and Neophasia terlooii Behr, 1869. The genus was described by Behr, 1869 (Trans. Am. ent. Soc. 2 (3): 303). N. menepia is found in western USA and in southern British Columbia. N. terlooii is found in Mexico, overlappping with N. menapia in Arizona and New Mexico. A remarkable tertiary shift in larval food plant to gymnosperms from Brassicaceae must have occured to account for this anomaly. Caterpillars of both species of Neophasia feed exclusively on the needles of various conifers (Pinus ponderosa & other P. spp., Pseudotsuga spp., Tsuga spp., Abies spp., Picea spp.): (Pinaceae).
(b) In Alberta, the Pine White is known only from an older records from Banff, Sulphur Mnt. (N.B. Sanson, 1922, Aug. 10 - Sep. 6.). It is very likely that this represents an peripheral, northern stray from the normal range of this species. In my 40 years of observing and collecting butterflies in Alberta, I have never seen a single live specimen of N. menapia from Alberta.
(c) Affinities: Shapiro on his web site suggests that the two species of Neophasia descended from mistletoe-feeding ancestors. The American Dwarf Pine Misletoe, genus Arceuthobium, (Viscaceae) is a parasitic plant (phanerogam) on soft pines.
(d) I encourage butterfly enthusiasts to watch for new occurences of N. menapia in the southern Rocky Mountains in Alberta.
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.