Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adults. Wingspan 56–66 mm; the fringes conspicuously light-and-dark banded. Slender-bodied to medium built; very short-bodied. The eyes hairy. Antennae reaching noticeably over halfway to the wingtip. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate; not curved; not flattened (tapered, orange beneath). Labial palps ascending. Having only 4 fully developed legs (forelegs with two tarsal joints and brushlike in males, those of females having 4 tarsal joints with short setae). Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. The outer and hind margins angled at about 100 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved to more or less straight; scalloped (slightly). Uppersides of the forewings black to fuscous; with conspicuous venation; without a discal mark (although there is a short, transversely elongate white, pre-median dot from the costa); with a white postmedium fascia interrupted by black veins, and three white spots beyond this in the apex.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; not tailed; with the outer margins scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings blackish to fuscous; with conspicuous venation; conspicuously patterned; without a discal mark; with a white postmedian fascia interrupted by black veins, cf. the forewings.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings brownish orange, with black bars and series of spots, and white markings corresponding with those of the upper surfaces; with conspicuous venation.

Undersides of the hindwings colour-patterned like those of the forewings, but blueish-whitish-greyish basally and along the dorsum; with conspicuous venation.

Wing venation. Forewings 12 veined; without basally dilated veins. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b furcate proximally to simple (?). Forewings without a discal cell (the transverse vein lacking between veins 4 and 5). Forewing veins 8 and 9 out of 7, with 10 closely apposed basally and 11–12 separate.

Hindwings 9 veined; with a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings without a closed discal cell; the transverse vein incomplete (lacking between veins 4 and 5). 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell. The cell-derived hindwing veins 3+4 proximally joined (joining where the “missing” transverse vein would be).

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs shortly barrel-shaped (subspherical, flattened above and below); densely spinulose and reticulate. The larvae hairless, or hairy (?); with rows of bristly spines. On Lonicera.

Pupae ridged and angular (and strongly humped); conspicuously patterned; with shining-metallic markings (including a golden sheen ocer the wing cases); exposed, with no coccoon; suspended from the tail (cremaster), with no median silk girdle.

British representation. 1 species. Limenitis (Ladoga) camilla (White Admiral). The adults abroad June to August.

Status in Britain. Indigenous.

Distribution. English Midlands, East Anglia, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, and Isle of Wight. Frequenting woodland. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Comments. A strong flier in woodland, sometimes gliding.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Nymphalidae.

Illustrations. • Limenitis camilla (White Admiral): photos. • Limenitis camilla (White Admiral: B. Ent. 124). • Limenitis camilla: B. Ent. 124, legend+text. • Limenitis camilla: B. Ent. 124, text cont.. • Limenitis camilla (White Admiral): egg, larva, pupa. • Larva and pupa of L. camilla: Duponchel (1849).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.