Bath White

Pontia daplidice (PON-tee-uh da-pli-DY-see)

Bath White - Alpes-Maritimes - 30 June 2010
Photo © CFB

48 - 52mm

Checklist Number

Family:PieridaeSwainson, 1820
Subfamily:PierinaeDuponchel, 1835
Tribe:PieriniSwainson, 1820
Genus:PontiaFabricius, 1807
Species:daplidice(Linnaeus, 1758)

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This is an extremely scarce immigrant to the British Isles and, in some years, is not seen at all. However, on occasion, it does appear in large numbers, such as the great immigration of 1945. The first specimen was recorded in the British Isles in the late 17th century. Between 1850 and 1939 there were very few records, with only a few years reaching double figures. The exception was 1906 when several hundred were supposedly seen on the cliffs at Durdle Door, Dorset, although these records are considered suspect. The great years for this species, however, were between 1944 and 1950, with over 700 seen in 1945, mostly in Cornwall. This species has been extremely scarce ever since with less than 20 individuals recorded since 1952. It is believed that this species cannot survive our winter although some offspring resulting from the 1945 invasion may have survived into the following year. In the British Isles the species was potentially capable of producing 2 or 3 broods in good years.

The butterfly was originally known as "Vernon's Half Mourner" after the first recognised capture by William Vernon in Cambridgeshire in May 1702, although earlier records are now known. However, the common name of this butterfly comes from a piece of needlework that figures this species, supposedly showing a specimen taken in or near Bath in 1795, and the name seems to have "stuck". This species is a rare migrant to the British Isles. Although most records come from the south coast of England, this species has been reported as far north as Lincolnshire and Yorkshire in England, and also in County Wexford, south east Ireland (a record from 1893).

Taxonomy Notes

Ochsenheimer (1808) described the spring generation of P. daplidice as f. bellidice. The nominate form, f. daplidice, is used to describe the summer generation.

Pontia daplidice Historic Specimens

This species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Southern Europe and Africa).

Bath White - male - Thatcham - 07-Jun-14 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White (male), Campanet, Majorca (3 August 2012)

Male Underside
Photo © Mark Colvin

Bath White, female, Cuidad Quesada, Spain 26th September 2010

Photo © Lee Hurrell

Bath White female - Cadiz, Spain 2-Nov-2013

Female Underside
Photo © EricY

Photo Album ...

Conservation Status

No conservation action is relevant for this species.


This species prefers open habitats of any kind and, on the continent, will even breed on derelict sites.


1.2 Rare Migrant

This species is a rare migrant to the British Isles.

Life Cycle

Adults are typically seen in the British Isles in July, August and September.


This is a highly mobile species, the last mass immigration occurring in 1945. Given the similarity of this species to other, more-common, whites, it is probably overlooked and therefore under-recorded.

Description of nectar sources to be completed.

Photo Album ...


Eggs are laid singly on the foodplant and are yellow-green when first laid, gradually turning orange. Eggs found in the British Isles in 1945 were laid on the flower heads of Wild Mignonette, Hedge Mustard and Sea Radish. Eggs hatch in approximately a week.

Pontia daplidice - Egg (La Gomera, February 2013) [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner

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The larva feeds during both day and night and this stage typically lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.

The primary larval foodplants are Crucifers (various) (Cruciferae family (various)) and Mignonettes (various) (Reseda spp.). Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Sea Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) and Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea) are also used.

Bath White - larva - Thatcham - 02-May-14 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - larva - Thatcham - 08-May-14 [REARED]-12

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - larva - Thatcham - 11-May-14 [REARED]-7

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - larva - Thatcham - 11-May-14 [REARED]-8

Photo © Pete Eeles

Photo Album ...


The pupa is often formed on stems of the foodplant, but also away from the foodplant on fences, buildings or other flat surfaces. The pupa is supported by a silk girdle and the cremaster.

Bath White - pupa - Thatcham - 17-May-14 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - pupa - Thatcham - 17-May-14 [REARED]-2

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - pupa - Thatcham - 15-May-14 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles

Bath White - pupa - Thatcham - 15-May-14 [REARED]-2

Photo © Pete Eeles

Photo Album ...


Description to be completed.

Click here to see the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

Similar Species


Description to be completed.


Watch Video

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.


The species description provided here references the following publications:

Duponchel (1835) Duponchel, P.A.J. (1835) Histoire naturelle des lépidoptères ou papillons de France, par M. J.-B. Godart. Continuée par P.-A.-J. Duponchel. Diurnes. Supplément aux tomes premier et deuxième.
Fabricius (1807) Fabricius, J.C. (1807) Magazin für Insektenkunde, herausgegeben von Karl Illiger.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C. (1758) Systema Naturae. Edition 10.
Ochsenheimer (1808) Ochsenheimer, F. (1808) Die Schmetterlinge von Europa.
Swainson (1820) Swainson, W. (1820) Zoological illustrations, or Original figures and descriptions of new, rare, or interesting animals : selected chiefly from the classes of ornithology, entomology, and conchology, and arranged on the principles of Cuvier and other modern zoologists (Vol.1).