Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
24 September 2014: We visited the Ray Roberts Lake State Park—Johnson Branch in Valley View, Texas (located in Cooke County). This butterfly’s range extends from Florida west to the eastern half of Texas thence north toward the Upper Midwest area of the Great Lakes including states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, in other words, the New England area of the nation. It is an eastern butterfly in the context of United States biogeography. But it has a northern subspecies, the White Admiral, that’s found in New England and adjoining areas of Canada. Here’s the extended thumbnail sketch found at the University of Florida’s Department of Entomology and Nematology entry for Red-spotted Purple: “The red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax (Fabricius), is a beautiful forest butterfly that is also commonly seen in wooded suburban areas. It is considered to be a Batesian mimic of the poisonous pipe vine swallowtail, Battus philenor (Linnaeus), with which it is sympatric. For detailed taxonomic information on the red-spotted purple, see Warren et al. (2009a). The white admiral, Limenitis arthemis arthemis (Drury), is a more northern subspecies and is not mimetic. It is believed to benefit from its disruptive banded coloration for protection in the absence of a poisonous model (Platt and Brower 1968). For photos and detailed taxonomic information on the white admiral, see Warren et al. (2009b). The red-spotted purple interbreeds with the white admiral in the zone of overlap, and the hybrids are healthy and fertile (Scott 1986). The red-spotted purple also interbreeds with the closely-related, congeneric viceroy butterfly, Limenitis archippus (Cramer), both in the laboratory and occasionally in the field (Platt 1975, Platt and Greenfield 1968, Covell 1994, Platt and Maudsley 1994, Platt et al. 2003, Ritland 1990). Ritland (1990) discussed factors favoring increased rates of hybridization in southern Georgia and northern Florida.”
We found this beauty taking in the moisture from the sandy soil next to the Ray Roberts Lake’s edge at the Johnson Branch of the Ray Roberts Lake State Park. Because it is found in North America Red-spotted Purple is without question an authentic resident of the Western Hemisphere. Ray Roberts Lake State Park is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
Source: “Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis Astyanax),” Featured Creatures, University of Florida, Department of Entomology and Nematology, photographs, description, resource links, bibliography, accessed 12.24.15, http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/red-spotted_purple.htm
a beautiful butterfly with blue and black on the outside of the tail and otherwise red/orange and black.
The White Admiral or Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) is a polytypic species of North American brush-footed butterfly, common throughout much of the eastern United States. L. a. astyanax has red spots on its underside and the top of the wings are notable for their iridescent blue markings. L. a. arthemis on the other hand has a large white band traversing both the forewings and hindwings.