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Insects and other arthropods

White admiral

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Limenitis arthemis arthemis

Tabs group

Description

The caterpillar and chrysalid of this butterfly look like bird droppings, which protects them from predators. Adults have two pairs of black wings with white stripes. The edge of their bottom wings features reddish-orange and blue spots. The front and back of their wings are different colours, but both sides feature white bands that look like an admiral’s stripes. Their wingspan ranges from 47 to 78 mm. Females look like males, except slightly bigger.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid from mid-June to mid-July. The tiny, greenish eggs are laid together on the upper surface of a leaf. They hatch after seven to nine days. The caterpillar, which lives on its own, goes through five larval stages. To survive the winter, during the second or third stage, the caterpillar hides itself in a cut leaf it has folded and securely attached to the end of a branch with a thread of silk. This shelter is called a hibernaculum. The following spring, the larva continues its development until the adult emerges from the chrysalis in mid-June. There is only one generation each year in Quebec.

Geographic distribution

The Arthemis subspecies is found from eastern Canada all the way to Manitoba. This butterfly tends to prefer northern areas. Its distribution area goes as far north as James Bay and as far south as the middle of the United States.

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