Butterflies of the Adirondack Mountains:
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
The White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis) is a medium to large black and white butterfly that may be seen in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York in early to mid-summer. It is a member of the Brushfoot family of butterflies.  The name Admiral is said to have originated in England, when a white-banded butterfly came to be known as a white "admirable" because of its beauty. This name was later applied to its North American relatives.  The genus name -- Limenitis -- derives from the Latin word limen, which means threshold. Arthemis refers to a goddess in Greek mythology, the sister of Apollo. 
From above, the White Admiral has a broad white band crossing a black ground color on both wings.  On the hind wing, there is a row of blue spots with red dots.  From below, the White Admiral sports a row of white bands on both wings, with brick red spots near the edge and some blue markings near the body.  The average wingspan of this butterfly is about 3 inches. 
The eggs are grayish-green.  Host plants include willow, aspen, poplar, and birch.  Caterpillars reportedly feed mostly at night.  Adults consume sap, nectar, decaying organic matter, and scat, as well as moisture from damp sand.  
The White Admiral is widespread and common in mixed and deciduous forests, forest edges, and near streams.   Typical habitats of the White Admiral also include roads and clearings in wooded areas. These butterflies reportedly enjoy sunning themselves on leaves and gravel roads. 
There are several subspecies of Limentis arthemis. Here in the Adirondacks, our White Admiral is in the subspecies arthemis, which is found in the northeastern part of the US and the southeastern parts of Canada.   This butterfly can usually be seen in New York State (the New York City area) from mid-May to mid-July, but is most common in early to mid June.  In 2012,the White Admiral was seen in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House in mid- and late June.
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