Red-spotted Purple

Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Summary 5

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. Limenitis arthemis astyanax has red spots on its underside and the top of the wings are notable for their iridescent blue markings. Limenitis arthemis arthemis on the other hand has a large white band traversing both the forewings and hind wings. Only the Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) is present in Florida.

Description 6

Both sexes of this species are identical except that the females are slightly larger than the males. The upper side of L. a. astyanax is very much like L. a. arthemis except it lacks the broad white bands. The fore wing submarginal area will sometimes have a row of red spots. The hind wings are either a bright iridescent blue or an iridescent bluish-green. The underside of the wings lacks the white band. The basal area has several red spots. It has a row of red submarginal spots and bluish marginal spots.


Intermediates between L. a. arthemis and L. a. astyanax can occur. L. a. arthemis f. proserpina has faint white bands. L. a. arthemis f. albofaciata has more conspicuous white bands but they are not as broad as the bands are on L. a. arthemis.

Larval Description 7

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 color (Guppy & Shepard 2001) and have a shiny look to them. There are usually five instars.

Larval Host Plants 8

Leaves of many species of trees and shrubs including wild cherry (Prunus), aspen, poplar, cottonwood (Populus), oaks (Quercus), hawthorn (Crataegus), deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), birch (Betula), willows (Salix), basswood (Tilia), and shadbush (Amelanchier).

GTM Occurrence 8

The Red-spottted Purple is considered a rare species at the GTM. There has only been one observation of this species and this was along the open habitat of Transect A on September, 29, 2008. There have been 2 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 9

Global Range: New England south to central Florida, and west to Montana and Arizona. Also, Alaska to British Columbia.

Habitat 10

The Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) occurs in forest and woodlands and are characteristic of disturbed, brushy or suburban areas.

Nature serve conservation status 11

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Extremely widespread and abundant.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) gailhampshire, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  2. (c) John Flannery, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  3. (c) John Flannery, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND),
  4. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve,
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  6. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  7. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  8. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  9. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  10. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  11. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),

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