There are many types of white butterflies that are common throughout the world, with many these species found in North America. They can be seen almost all year, and each season brings different forms of these insects, depending on the species.
15 Types of white butterflies
There is so much to learn about these magnificent creatures, and if you want to start butterfly watching or are just curious about the various species with this color, this list of types of white butterflies is a great place to start.
1. Checkered White
Scientific Name: Pontia protodice
The checkered white butterfly has white wings with black spots. It’s also quite prevalent in North America, including parts of Canada and Mexico. They prefer dry environments like grasslands, deserts, sandy lots, and even beach dunes.
This species’ caterpillars enjoy eating mustard family plants. The patterns on their wings vary depending on the season in which they emerge. Because butterflies emerge in the spring and fall receive less sunlight, they have a more green-grayish vein and a lighter pattern than those that emerge in the summer.
2. Western Pine White
Scientific Name: Neophasia menapia
Western pine white is a species of butterfly native to North America. This species is found throughout British Columbia, California, and Mexico. It has a 1 – 2 inch wingspan, and its larvae feed on various conifers.
The upper side of the butterfly is white, with black bands running across the wings. The undersides of female wings have dark black markings and orange-red edges that male wings don’t have.
3. Florida White
Scientific Name: Appias drusilla
The Florida white is a tropical butterfly that you can locate from the southeastern United States to Central America. These insects are active during dry (October to April) and wet (May to September) seasons, emerging in various forms.
The wingspan of the Florida white is only about 2 inches, and a white upper side with black edges will be seen on Its wings. You can find this butterfly’s caterpillar stage on a variety of plants, including guiana plum and bayleaf capertree.
4. Spring White
Scientific Name: Pontia sisymbrii
This butterfly is frequently seen flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar on dry slopes and rocky canyons from Canada to California. The spring white’s wings range in color from white to pale yellow and have black veins all over them.
Spring whites are small, with a wingspan of about 1 inch from tip to tip. Caterpillars typically eat native mustard plants, while adults are often seen consuming mud and flower nectars.
5. White Peacock Butterfly
Scientific Name: Anartia jatrophae
The white peacock is a butterfly that can be found throughout North America. They’re most common in Florida and some parts of Texas.
This butterfly is named after its distinctive coloration, which includes light brown markings on its wings and rows of light crescents. They have a 2-inch wingspan and a lifespan of 6 to 20 days. They spend the majority of their lives in open, moist areas such as ponds, streams, and parks.
6. Chiricahua Pine White
Scientific Name: Neophasia terlooii
Chiricahua pine white butterfly is found in the high mountains of Arizona and Mexico. It lives in areas where pine trees are abundant, hence the name. This species’ caterpillars live in a web together but scatter at night to look for food.
The wingspan of this insect is approximately 2 inches. In terms of appearance, men and women are very different. Male chiricahua pine white’s wings are white with black veins and black tips on the forewing, while female wings are orange with solid black borders and veins.
7. Cabbage White
Scientific Name: Pieris rapae
The cabbage white, also known as the small white, is a common butterfly in the United States. It’s found in the majority of North America, as well as parts of South America and Europe. This species can be found in any open space, including gardens, cities, suburbs, and weedy areas.
The wingspan of the cabbage white is about 2 inches. It has white forewings with black tips on the upper side. The black spots on the butterfly’s wing indicate whether it’s a male or female. The female’s wing has two black spots, whereas the male’s wing only has one.
8. Great Southern White
Scientific Name: Ascia monuste
Great Southern White is a medium-sized insect native to Mexico, tropical America, and the southeastern United States. It has a wingspan of 2 to 3 inches and is white with black patterns depending on the season.
It’s mostly found in coastal areas and open fields, where it feeds on the nectar of saltwort, lantana, and verbena flowers.
9. West Virginia White
Scientific Name: Pieris virginiensis
This species is one of the white butterflies found in the Northern Great Lakes states. West Virginia white has a wingspan of about 2 inches and translucent white wings. The hindwing of this butterfly has pale gray veins on the underside.
This species prefers wooded areas to live in, and lays its eggs on toothworts, a member of the mustard family. These host plants would serve as a source of food for both the caterpillar and the adult, who consumes the plant’s nectars.
10. Mustard White
Scientific Name: Pieris oleracea
The mustard white butterfly is prevalent in North America. Their location is all the way from Canada to the Great Lakes region. They’re commonly found in fields, streamsides, forests, and deciduous woods.
These butterflies also come in two forms: spring and summer. Summer butterflies’ wings are entirely white with faint black markings, whereas spring butterflies’ wings have green markings on the top side of the wing.
11. Margined White
Scientific Name: Pieris marginalis
This lovely butterfly species has white wings and a pointed forewing. It also has black scales running along the veins, which are more common in females than males.
These insects are seen in North America, including Arizona, California, Canada, and Alaska. They also prefer moist environments and can be seen flying around moist forests, streamsides, and meadows.
12. Summer Azure
Scientific Name: Celastrina neglecta
The summer azure belongs to the Lycaenidae family of butterflies. It is native to North America, and they’re prevalent in southern Canada as well as the eastern and central United States.
The wings of the summer azure are powdery blue with white scaling and black borders on the forewing. Its wings have a white underside with small spots and a black zigzag pattern on the edges. It can be seen frequently flying around open spaces like meadows and pastures or near the edges of forests.
13. Falcate Orangetip
Scientific Name: Anthocharis midea
Falcate orangetip is one of the fascinating butterflies that can be found in North America. This species is mostly found from southern New England to Texas.
This white butterfly is easily identified by its hooked forewing with an orange color tip. Male falcate orangetips are the only ones with orange tips; females don’t have them. However, both male and female wings have yellow-green marbling on the underside.
14. Giant White
Scientific Name: Ganyra josephina
This Giant White butterfly has a wingspan of 2 to 3 inches. It lives in dry and open forests and can be found from Texas to Mexico and parts of South America. These insects are distinguished by their bright white color and distinctive black spot.
Just like any adult butterfly, it feeds on the nectar of flowers. On the other hand, this species’ caterpillar feeds on trees in the caper family.
15. Becker’s White
Scientific Name: Pontia beckerii
Becker’s White butterflies can be found in North America, from British Columbia to New Mexico. This species’ wingspan is about 1 – 2 inches, and its wings are white with black spots on the forewing.
However, females have black spots that are darker compared to males. Their underwings have green borders that run along the veins’ thin yellow lines.
These species can be found in canyon fields, brushlands, and desert foothills. Their food source is typically mustard family plants, with caterpillars feeding on plant parts and adult butterflies feeding on nectar.