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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Red-spotted Purple / American White Admiral
Limenitis arthemis astyanax  FABRICIUS, 1775
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - LIMENITIDINAE
Tribe -
Limenitis arthemis astyanax, Indiana, USA  Chris Orpin
Introduction
There are about 25-30 species in the genus Limenitis. Some such as populi and camilla are widely distributed across Europe and temperate Asia. The majority however are largely restricted to China and the countries of the former Soviet Union. There are 4 species found in tropical Asia, but there the genus is largely replaced by Neptis.
In North America there are 4 Limenitis species - archippus, lorquini, arthemis and weidemeyerii.
The southern subspecies of arthemis is known as the Red-spotted Purple, but the northern race is called the American White Admiral. The reason for the apparent confusion that the 2 subspecies are entirely different in appearance. The northern Limenitis arthemis arthemis had dark brown wings, with broad white bands, and has no trace of the blue-purple sheen or the reddish spots at the apex of astyanax.
Limenitis arthemis arthemis is found in eastern Canada and north-eastern USA. Limenitis arthemis astyanax is found in the southern USA. In areas where the 2 subspecies overlap they breed and produce fertile offspring that are mid way between arthemis and astyanax in colour and pattern.
Limenitis arthemis astyanax, USA  Frank Model
Habitats
This species is found in open deciduous woodland habitats in temperate, subtropical and subarctic regions of North America, at altitudes between sea level and about 800m.
Lifecycle
The larvae are polyphagous, with foodplants including Salix, Betula, Alnus, Carpinus, Prunus, Crataegus, Fagus, Quercus, Ulmus, Tilia, Ribes and many other deciduous trees and shrubs.
Adult behaviour
Males commonly imbibe mineralised moisture from damp ground, and also feed at sap runs, dung, carrion, fermenting fruit and aphid secretions ( honey dew ). Females feed mainly at flower nectar.
Limenitis arthemis arthemis, New Hampshire, USA  Frank Model
 

 

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