Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii) (W.H. Edwards, 1861)

Diagnosis: This is basically a black and white butterfly, with little of the red markings of related species. The bold white band is repeated on both surfaces of the wings. There are white spots near the tip of the forewings and a row of small white spots along the margins. There are also extensive greyish-white markings on the hindwing underside. Wingspan: 55 to 72 mm.

Subspecies: Subspecies oberfoelli occurs in Canada.

Range: The main range of this species is through the western U.S. from the Rocky Mountains westward, with an outlying population in the northern Great Plains. This population extends into Canada in southeastern Alberta along the Milk River (see Remarks below).

Specimen collection data


Similar Species: The White Admiral (L. a. rubrofasciata) has extensive red markings on the underside and Lorquin's Admiral (L. lorquini) has orange wing tips. [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is mottled grey and white with a humped back and a tan-coloured saddle in the middle. It feeds on several species of poplar (Populus spp.) and willow (Salix spp.). The early stages have not been found in Canada.

Abundance: Rare, but it has been recorded numerous times in willow and poplar thickets along the Milk River in southern Alberta.

Flight Season: In Alberta it flies in June and July.

Habits: Weidemeyer's Admiral is most often found along streamsides or lakeshores where willows and cottonwoods grow. It also flies in drier habitats, particularly sage flats near watercourses.

Remarks: There is one other possible occurrence of this species in Canada. A specimen in the Canadian National Collection is labelled "Rainy River, Ontario, 14 July 1960, M. M. MacKay." This specimen was in with many other similarly labelled butterflies and moths common in that part of Ontario in July. The specimen might quickly be discounted as mislabelled except that it is subspecies oberfoelli, a rare subspecies of gallery forests in the Great Plains. If any weidemeyerii subspecies reached Ontario it would be oberfoelli, yet this subspecies is sufficiently rare that it was not otherwise represented in the CNC. This considerably lowers the odds of it being mislabelled.

© 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.