British Wildlife Wiki
White admiral

white admiral (photo: K Noble)

The White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) is a butterfly also comes from the family of Nymphlidae.


Both sexes of this species are identical except that the females are slightly larger than the males.The upper side of L. a. arthemis is mostly blackish-blue with white postmedian bands across both wings. Some individuals have a row of red submarginal spots, while others have this area being blue. The underside of the wings is a blackish color with a broad white postmedian band. The basal area of both wings contains many red spots. The submarginal area may contain a row of red spots and the marginal area having bluish spots. However, sometimes the submarginal and marginal areas are just a reddish-brown color.

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.

L. a. arizonensis is indistinguishable from L. a. astyanax except that L. a. arizonensis is found in the southwest and its range does not overlap the range of L. a. astyanax.

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


The butterfly uses shady woodland and ride edges, often associated with neglected or mature woodland where there are sunny glades with large patches of Bramble to provide nectar for the adults. It is found in both deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous woodland.


The sole foodplant is Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), usually in shady positions.


Population declining.

The White Admiral is a spectacular woodland butterfly, with white-banded black wings and a distinctive delicate flight: short periods of wing beats, followed by long glides. Adults are often found nectaring on Bramble flowers in rides and clearings. It is a fairly shade-tolerant butterfly, flying in dappled sunlight to lay eggs on Honeysuckle.

The White Admiral occurs widely in southern Britain and has spread rapidly since the 1920s, after an earlier contraction. However, population monitoring has shown a dramatic decline in the last 20 years for reasons that are as yet unclear.




White Admiral butterfly

White Admiral Butterfly by Richard Claxton -