Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. taken in Bon Echo Provincial Park, ON
Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
Image Credit: Anonymous
Image Credit: Anonymous
Variations in orange color and geographic range gave rise to subspecies and, hence, multiple names for the White Admiral Butterfly.
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 lives in Alaska and western Canada, and this variation has the black body and white band like the typical White Admiral, but adds orange spots to both the 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 one is observing in the wild, and location matters. Males can be found perching one meter or 3 feet above ground on shrubs and other plants while 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.
Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis
Other Name(s): Western White Admiral, Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 75mm to 100mm (2.93in to 3.90in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.