Great Southern White – Ascia monuste

Great Southern White – Ascia monuste

The Great Southern White butterfly is found in the southern part of eastern and central US, primarily in coastal states.

Males are whitest. Females range from slightly off-white to almost pure charcoal.

The tips of their antennae are baby blue.

Females lay eggs on plants in the mustard family. Their primary hosts in southern Florida seem to be Virginia Peppergrass and Wild Radish. Eggs are laid in clusters.

When raising this species in your home, almost any plant in the mustard family will feed them, including Cleome (Spider Flower), cabbage, radish leaves, tansy mustard, and mustard greens. If purchasing plants or leaves to feed caterpillars, please be aware that ‘Certified Organic’ plants can be treated with Bt, a natural soil-dwelling bacteria that is deadly to caterpillars. They eat a few bites the first day and can’t eat afterward. Three days later, they die. Wash any organic plants/leaves thoroughly, several times, before feeding them to your caterpillars.