The White Admiral was chosen by popular vote as Québec's official insect.|
DESCRIPTION: A butterfly with brownish-black wings crossed by two broad bands. The hindwings are bordered with red and blue spots. Wingspan: 8- 8.5 cm.
LIFE CYCLE: Egg laying occurs between mid-June and mid-July. The tiny greenish eggs are laid one by one on the top of a leaf, and hatch in seven to nine days. The caterpillars, which are solitary, undergo five larval instars or stages before pupating. The caterpillar and chrysalis of this butterfly resemble bird droppings, which provides camouflage from predators. The caterpillar overwinters in the second or third instar in a leaf that it has rolled and attached firmly to the tip of a branch with silk. This shelter is called a hibernaculum. The following spring, the larva continues its development. The adults emerge around mid-June. One generation per year in Québec.
ACTIVE PERIOD: The adults are active from mid-June to mid-August and the caterpillars from June to August.
ABUNDANCE: Very common.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBTUTION: Clearings, wet meadows, stream banks and logging roads in deciduous and mixed forests, particularly near water. Occurs throughout Canada and the northern United States.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The White Admiral caterpillar is difficult to distinguish from the Viceroy, but the adults are easy to tell apart.