Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Red-spotted Purple
Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax with red spots on edge of front wings. Fresh hatch of partial 3rd generation. On Tall Boneset, September 02, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax with red spots on edge of front wings. Fresh hatch of partial 3rd generation. On Tall Boneset, September 02, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

Red-spotted Purple flies in south-western Ontario from Mid-June to the first week of September, with 2 generations, and sometimes a partial 3rd generation. Slightly varied, some have red spots along the front wing edge, but these spots can fade.

 

 

 

Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax on Queen Anne's Lace. July 29, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario. Pointed hind wings and red spot at anal angle of hind wings. Similar to L. a. proserpina.
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax on Queen Anne’s Lace. July 29, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario. Pointed hind wings and red spot at anal angle of hind wings. Similar to L. a. proserpina.

Some have slightly pointed hind wings, with or without a red spot on inner edge of the hind wings (anal angle), and closely resemble sub-species proserpina from s. w. U.S. Genetic studies have proved the two are sister species, but neither is that closely related to the White Admiral.

 

 

 

White Admiral Limenits arthems puddling. Although they fly in central Ontario, this one is from Chase, British Columbia June 26, 2010.
White Admiral Limenits arthems puddling. Although they fly in central Ontario, this one is from Chase, British Columbia June 26, 2010.

Apparently southern Ontario is a hybridization zone for interbreeding between the Red-spotted Purple and the White Admiral Limenitis arthemis, but the White Admiral doesn’t fly south of the London/ Hamilton corridor. Other hybrid zones are in New England, and Kentucky/Tennessee.

 

 

Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax lacking red spots. On Nannyberry (Viburnum) July 28, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax lacking red spots. On Nannyberry (Viburnum) July 28, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

Red-spotted Purple are also supposed to be mimics of the Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor, but other than occasional migrating strays at Point Pelee and a few strays near Toronto, it doesn’t fly here either. Recent research is beginning to question the Batesian mimicry.

 

 

Typical Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax enjoying watermelon. July 27, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Typical Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax enjoying watermelon. July 27, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

Red-spotted Purple feed on a great variety of flowers, contrary to some reports: Butterfly Bush, Hoptree, Virgin’s Bower, Queen Anne’s Lace, Boneset, Sweet William and Blazing Star. Like the Viceroy, they also enjoy rotting fruit like apples and watermelon. Caterpillars are almost identical to the Viceroy Limenitis archippus and feed on cherry, hawthorn, apple, serviceberry, beech and farther north also on birch.

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