Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini) (Boisduval, 1852)

Diagnosis: Although slightly smaller (wingspan: 47 to 71 mm) than the other admirals, it is still a striking butterfly. It can easily be recognized by the orange tips of the forewing upperside. There is a white band across both wings, above and below. Females are considerably larger than males.

Subspecies: None. Populations in Canada and the northwestern U.S. have previously been treated as subspecies burrisonii, originally described from "Landsdowne" [Lansdowne Creek near Fairmont Hot Springs?], British Columbia; see Remarks below.

Range: This is mainly a species of the west coast in the U.S., moving farther inland in the more northerly parts of its range. In Canada, it is widespread in southern British Columbia, including Vancouver Island, north to Emerald Lake. It also occurs in extreme southwestern Alberta and there is a single record from the Cypress Hills in southwestern Saskatchewan.

Similar Species: The White Admiral (L. a. rubrofasciata) and Weidemeyer's Admiral (L.weidemeyerii) resemble this species, but both lack orange wing tips. [compare images]

Description of this image follows.
Lorquin's Admiral
(Limenitis lorquini), egg.
J.B. Tatum

Early Stages: The mature larva is mottled olive and yellow with a white patch on the back. The hump is smaller than in other admirals. It feeds on a variety of trees, including willow (Salix spp.), poplar and cottonwood (Populus spp.), and cherry (Prunus spp.). It also feeds on orchard trees, such as plum, cherry, and apple.

Abundance: This species is locally common in southern British Columbia; it is rare in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Flight Season: Lorquin's Admiral flies from June until August in Canada.

Habits: This is a very pugnacious butterfly, often attacking any intruder in its territory, even large birds (Pyle, 1981). It is mainly found in or near woodlands, including orchards and parks. This striking butterfly sits on tree leaves at the forest edge, with its wings characteristically held at a 45-degreeangle, showing off the bright orange wing tips.

Description of this image follows.
Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini). Victoria, BC. J.B. Tatum

Remarks: Subspecies burrisonii, described from a series of specimens from southeastern British Columbia, was characterized by lack of orange at the wing tips, the presence of red spots along the white band on the hindwing, and less white shading on the underside. Material from southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta matching the description are hybrids between lorquini and arthemis.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.