|scientific name Limenitis arthemis (Drury)|
common name White Admiral
Common in shrubby and wooded areas throughout the province.
One annual brood, peak flight period from mid June to late July.
Similar to our other two species of true admirals (Limenitis). The White lacks the rust-coloured forewing tips of Lorquin's (L. lorquini), and has a row of reddish spots bordering the outside of the hindwing white band. Their ranges overlap only in the Waterton - Crowsnest region, where hybrid individuals exhibiting characters intermediate between the White and Lorquin's are sometimes found. L. arthemis also has more orange on the hindwing upperside than Weidemeyer's (L. weidemeyerii), and has a red-brown hindwing underside base rather than predominantly white. Hybrids between these two species sometimes also occur.
The western Canadian populations are subspecies rubrofasciata.
The pale green eggs are round and sculptured (Guppy &Shepard 2001). Second instar larvae construct a shelter out of a partially rolled-up leaf base with silk, and hibernate inside this structure (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Mature larvae bear a remarkable resemblance to a bird dropping when resting on a leaf, since they are splotchy white and grey brown in colour (Guppy & Shepard 2001) and have a shiny look to them. There are usually five instars, but in BC, male larvae may occasionally 'fast-track' and pupate the same season after only four instars (Guppy & Shepard 2001), forming a partial second brood in late summer and early fall. This phenomenon may also account for August and September records in Alberta (Bird et al. 1995).
Adult males perch in shrubs and trees, occasionally patrolling along forest edges, and fly out to investigate other butterflies passing by.
Not of concern.
Larvae have been recorded primarily from poplars and willows (Salicaceae) (Layberry et al. 1998), although no particular species have been noted for Alberta. Adults are more fond of carrion and scat than flowers.
Alaska east to Newfoundland, south to Florida and eastern Texas. In the range roughly south of the Canadian border, this species looks very different, and is known as the Red-spotted Purple (L. arthemis astyanax).
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