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  • White Admiral Butterfly - (Limenitis arthemis)

    White Admiral Butterfly - (Limenitis arthemis)

    Variations in orange color and geographic range gave rise to subspecies and, hence, multiple names for the White Admiral Butterfly.

    Staff Writer (8/25/2017): A typical White Admiral in Canada is mostly black with a white band on the top side and a few dark orange dots on the underside of the wings. This variation is the unofficial insect of Quebec. The Red-Spotted Purple variation is more commonly seen in the southeast U.S. and is mostly black with no white on the top side, but has lots of blue coloring and bright orange spots underneath. An identical butterfly found in the Southwest has a different subspecies name simply because its location is so far away from the southeastern subspecies. Both mimic the toxic Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly. The Western White Admiral ranges in Alaska and Canada has the black body and white band like the typical White Admiral, but it adds orange spots on both top and bottom sides of the wings.

    All this means is that it may take a bit more time to sort out which type of Admiral is one sees in the wild. Males can be found perching 3 feet above ground on shrubs or other plants patrolling for intruders and for females. Adults drink liquids from rotting carcasses, animal dung, tree sap and decaying flowers. Look for them in mixed forests or deciduous woodlands.

    Caterpillars feed on chokecherry, birch, poplar, cottonwood and willow leaves. They are brown and ivory with a random color pattern that helps them look like bird droppings on a branch. They have a pair of black, hairy horns at one end and pairs of bumps along the body.

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    Details of the:
    White Admiral Butterfly

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: White Admiral Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis
    Other Names: Western White Admiral, Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Limenitis
            Species: arthemis

    Size (Adult, Length): 75mm to 100mm (2.95in to 3.94in)

    Identifying Colors: black, white, blue, orange

    Additional Descriptors: flying, spotted

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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