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White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)

Description: A medium sized to large black butterfly with a bold white band going across the fore and hindwings. There are blue spots on the hind margin of the hindwing upperside and blue and rusty spots on the underside. It cannot be confused with other species. Occasional individuals appear without or with reduced white bands. Wingspan: 47 to 78 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Widespread throughout the Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5. NS: S5. PEI: S5.

Flight Period: Mid June to early August. Partial second brood, early August to early September.

Host Plant: Various willows (Salix spp.), poplars (Populus spp.), and birches (Betula spp.).

Notes: The White Admiral is most often seen on forest paths and roads. This species varies greatly in abundance from year to year; in some boom years it can be seen on woodland roads in enormous numbers. It is usually seen drinking from damp soil or visiting animal droppings.

One of the first species of Canadian butterfly documented by European settlers, it appears on an early map of Halifax named the “White Admirable”.