Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

Common Name begins with:
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Scientific Name begins with:
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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in PIERIDAE:
<<       >>
Common NameWest Virginia White by Roger Rittmaster
[View PDF]
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[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NamePieris virginiensis
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Restricted to the mountains (and South Mountains in the Piedmont foothills), where found from low elevations (below 2000 feet in Polk County) to over 4000 feet (Macon County) and where recorded from all but one county.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Fairly common to common, at least locally, in the southern and central mountains. It is much less numerous, and generally uncommon, in the northern mountains. It seems to be genuinely rare near the VA border, where still not yet recorded from Alleghany County and seldom found (despite much field work) in Ashe County.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Single-brooded, with a moderately narrow flight period: late March to late May, very rarely to early June.
HabitatHABITAT: Restricted to rich forested slopes, being characteristic of cove forests, where there is an abundance of wildflowers and a scarcity of shrubs. Usually seen in the dappled shade of forest interiors, but seen at times along roads and other small openings in these forests.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Montane Hardwood Forests
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: Toothworts (Cardamine spp.) are the usual foodplants; these are common in the mountains, as well as in the Piedmont, but the butterfly is not known from the latter province, except in the South Mountains. The species nectars on toothworts as well as other cove-forest wildflowers.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This species is easily seen where and when present; white butterflies are easily detected well upslope or downslope in the open cove forests, and nearly all whites in this habitat are this species. This is a slow-flying butterfly and is easily tracked down, if the observer is willing to traverse the often steep slopes where this butterfly occurs. When you are looking at spring wildflowers in late April or early May in mountain coves such as Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, West Virginia Whites can be the most frequently seen butterfly species.

The Cabbage White is occasionally seen in cove forests. Thus, you cannot assume that a "white" in such a habitat is a West Virginia White.

This species has undergone alarming declines in the northern and central Appalachians, due mainly to the presence of the non-native Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), which grows in rich woods and is poisonous/lethal to caterpillars of the butterfly. Whether the butterfly has always been scarce in the northern mountains of NC, or whether it was formerly more common and has declined due to the presence of the Garlic Mustard, is not known. However, this plant does occur in the northern mountain counties and might be a concern to the butterfly species in NC in the future.
State RankS3S4
State Status
Global RankG2G3 [G3G4]
Federal Status
Synonym
Other Name


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Comment: Apr 29, 2005. Stecoah Gap, Graham Co.
West Virginia White - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Comment: Apr 29, 2005. Stecoah Gap, Graham Co.
West Virginia White - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Bruce Grimes
Comment: Apr 20, 2013
West Virginia White - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Bruce Grimes
Comment: Apr 20, 2013
West Virginia White - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Doug Allen
Comment: SC
West Virginia White - Click to enlarge