Red-spotted Purple

Limenitis arthemis astyanax (Fabricius, 1775)

Family: Nymphalidae

Status: Occasional resident

NENHP Ranking: Not listed

Range: Subspecies of Liminitis arthemis occupy most of the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada and Alaska. Subspecies astyanax is found from southern Texas and Florida north to southern North Dakota and New York. In Nebraska it is found primarily in the eastern half of the state.

Broods/Flight Times: A full brood peaking in mid-late June and a partial to full second in August.

Larval Hostplant(s): Primarily chokecherry (Prunus virginiana). Oviposition has been observed on quaking aspen in the Niobrara River valley.

Habitat: Found mostly along woodland margins where the host plant is present.

Overwintering: Small larvae overwinter in rolled up shelters made up of host plant leaves which they attach to the plant with silk.

Similar Species: Pipevine and Black Swallowtails

Notes: Red-spotted Purples mimic Pipevine Swallowtails who are distasteful to predators. Larvae resemble bird droppings. Hybrids between this species and Weidemeyer’s Admirals have been found at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.

Photo by Elizabeth Mullin
Red-spotted Purple – dorsal
Red-spotted Purple – side view

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