Red-spotted Purple butterfly – 5/24/12
Observer: Paul Lauenstein
Observation Date: 5/24/12
Observation Time: 8:20 a.m.
Observation Location: Gavins Pond area
Common Name: Red-spotted Purple butterfly
Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax
The red-spotted purple butterfly is the same species as the white admiral butterfly. It is a North American species in the cosmopolitan genus Limenitis. It has been studied for its evolution of mimicry, and for the several stable hybrid wing patterns within this nominal species; it is one of the most dramatic examples of hybridization between non-mimetic and mimetic populations.
L. arthemis can be split into two major groups, mainly based on one physical characteristic: the presence or absence of a white band along the wings. Individuals of the northern group, called white admirals, have a conspicuous white band that traverse both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the wing, while those of the southern group, called red-spotted purples, lack that trait as they have evolved to mimic the poisonous pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Due to overlap in distribution among the two major groups, subspecies are numerous as hybridization occurs frequently.
More Information: Wikipedia