Butterfly: Wingspan 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 inches (4.4-5.7 cm). Males are white with a black forewing apex. Females are either “dirty” white or smoky gray/brown with a black forewing apex and black forewing cell spot. Later season females tend to be darker with a smoky gray appearance.
ID Tip: Turquoise antennal clubs
Egg: Yellow, spindle-shaped eggs have 11 longitudinal ridges. They are laid singly or in clusters, often on the upper surface of the host plant leaf.
Caterpillar: Mottled gray body with five orange/yellow longitudinal bands. The body is covered with black, dot-like tubercles and sparse long hairs. The head is yellow-orange and speckled with black dots.
Chrysalis: White with black markings and dots. There is a pair of recurved black horns on the third segment.
Great Southern Whites tend to be wanderers. Individuals often disperse, but the species is known for massive emigrations where thousands leave to colonize new territory. Coastal movement is common, and some years they travel inland, using many weedy mustard plants for reproduction. Jim Egbert, who documented Great Southern Whites in Alabama, observed such a mass movement in June, 2016. He reported seeing hundreds flying in south Baldwin County, and at times, was able to see three "whites" together: Cabbage, Checkered, and Great Southern. In the fall, Great Southern Whites often make a backward trek. Freezing temperatures leave settlements only in more tropical climates, where Great Southern White pioneers wait for warm weather to reinstate their northern expansion.
A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat.
The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.
The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.
The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sightings in the following counties: Baldwin
Open coastal areas including dunes, salt marshes, roadsides, fields, and gardens
Members of the Mustard family (Brassicaceae), especially saltworts (Batis spp.) and pepperworts (Lepidium ssp.) are reported.
Currently, no host plant has been confirmed in Alabama.
For more information about the documented host plants and/or nectar plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the following links: