Butterflies: White Admiral / Red-spotted Purple

Photo of White Admiral
White Admiral (ventral)

The butterfly known as Limenitis arthemis can be found in New England in two distinct forms. Formerly treated as separate species, some now refer to them collectively as "Red-spotted Admirals".

The White Admiral is the more common form in northern New England and has broad white wing stripes visible from above and below. In southern New England, the Red-spotted Purple is more typical and features blue iridescence on largely black wings above, with prominent red-orange spots below. Intergrades of these two forms occur where their ranges overlap and show a combination of characteristics (see this example on the BugGuide).

To learn more about these butterflies, check out the species account by Brian Cassie on MassAudubon's Butterfly Atlas. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

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