Admiral Butterfly

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC
Western White Admiral

Admirals are medium-to-large, fast-flying, brightly colored butterflies that are found across North America. They can often be seen perched or slowly patrolling their territory.

Red Admirals are widespread across the United States and southern Canada. They have a bright red band along the edges of their black wings (1¾ -3 in wingspan). They’re found in moist woodlands and empty urban lots where they lay their eggs on stinging nettle. The caterpillars are black with white spots and spines.

Western White Admirals can be found in western Canada and Alaska. They have a black body with a white band like the regular White Admiral with the addition of orange spots on both the top and bottom sides of the wings (3 in wingspan). The caterpillars are brown and white with mixed colors and resemble bird droppings. They feed on the leaves of trees and shrubs.

Lorquin’s Admirals are large black butterflies with a white band across their wings and orange-red tips on both surfaces (2-3 in wingspan). They can be found from southern BC and Alberta to southern California and east to Montana and Idaho. They prefer bare, grassy patches on a south-facing slope with dense shrubs or trees at the upper end that are warmed by the sun. The caterpillars are brownish-yellow with white patches.

Did you know? Many butterflies live on flower nectar - but not all. Some, such as Red Admirals, drink from tree sap, rotting fruit, or bird droppings.

See Also: Azure Butterfly, Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar, Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Compton Tortoiseshell, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hawk Moth, Monarch Butterfly, Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, Tent Caterpillar, Tiger Swallowtail