24 November 2023

Desert White – Dhahran

Whilst birding Dhahran in mid-November I came across a couple of Desert White Butterfly Pontia glauconome, which is a striking white butterfly of arid regions occurring in deserts and on mountain slopes and foothills with sparse vegetation, up to around 2000 metres above sea level. The Desert White is a widespread species, ranging from North Africa through Arabia and the Middle East to Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is a small white butterfly (10-15mm) whose antennae are clubbed, ending in a white tip. The inside of the forewings are black tip with white dots. Underside of both wings has characteristic yellow veins, with light brown colour pattern and they have large round compound eyes with black dots. It is relatively common from early March to early December in a multitude of overlapping broods that differ from area to area depending on the rains. The Desert White is variable especially with regard to the amount of ‘green’ pigmentation on the underside that can be very heavy to almost absent. This variability can be large and can even occur between generations.