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11 Types of Admiral Butterflies (With Pictures)

Admiral butterflies are colorful insects known for their black wings with white bands. Of course, this varies depending on the types of admiral butterflies around the world. These butterflies are from the genus Limenitis and have been discovered in Europe, North America, and Asia. There are 21 species of admirals known to exist, of which four of them are native to North America.

In this article, we will discuss eleven of the most common ones.

11 Types of admiral butterflies

1. Weidemeyer’s admiral

Weidemeyer’s admiral on plants
Weidemeyer’s admiral on plants | image by ALAN SCHMIERER via Flickr

Scientific Name: Limenitis weidemeyerii

The weidemeyer’s admiral is a butterfly found in western North America, from Canada to California. It’s black with white bands and markings on its wings and has a wingspan of 55-72 mm.

This species prefers to live in aspen groves, montane forests, and riparian forests near streams or rivers, where its caterpillars can find plenty of host plants. The larvae feed on willow, cottonwood, and poplar species. Adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, fruit, sap, and even dung.

2. Red admiral

Red admiral butterfly
A red admiral butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa atalanta

Red admirals are temperate-zone butterflies found in North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. The wingspan of an adult red admiral ranges from 1.7 to 2.5 inches. It has striking wings with a black base, orange to red bands, and white markings.

The larva is spiky, mostly black or dark brown, with short yellowish stripes on both sides. The caterpillars also prefer to live inside silked-together leaves, which helps them hide from predators such as birds, who would eat them if they were more visible.

3. Indian white admiral

Indian white admiral isolated on white
Indian white admiral isolated on white | image by Frederic Moore via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Limenitis trivena

This butterfly is found throughout tropical and subtropical Asia. This species has brown wings with white bands running down the middle of each pair and white lines on the edges. The wings’ undersides are orange with white bands.

This insect prefers open areas with plenty of flowers for them to feed on. It prefers gardens with a lot of flowering plants, but it can also be found in forests if there are a lot of flowers there.

4. Lorquin’s admiral

Lorquin’s admiral on dried leaves
Lorquin’s admiral on dried leaves | image by Emilie Chen via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis lorquini

Lorquin’s admiral is a type of admiral butterfly you can find in North America. The species were discovered from British Columbia to California.

The wingspan of this species ranges from 47 to 71 mm. Its wings are black with white spots, and its forewings have orange edges on the top side. The wings’ undersides are bright orange-red with black and white markings.

It primarily feeds on the nectars of California buckeye, yerba santa, and privet, but will also consume bird droppings and dung. This butterfly can also be found on the edges of forests, mountain canyons, orchards, parks, and streamsides, where their host plants can be found.

5. Honshu white admiral

Honshu white admiral on green leaf
Honshu white admiral on green leaf | image by harum.koh via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis glorifica

One of the admiral butterflies that you can find in Japan is the Honshu white admiral, also known as the Japanese white admiral. They can be found on the Japanese island of Honshu, where they emerge in the spring. These butterflies, like other admirals, have black wings with white bands.

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Both larvae and adults have very specific food preferences. This species has been observed eating Japanese honeysuckle plants.

6. Southern white admiral

Southern white admiral on yellow flower
Southern white admiral on yellow flower | image by Gilles San Martin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis reducta

If you’re looking for admiral butterflies in Europe, look for the southern white admiral. This species is common in central-southern Europe and has been found as far as central Asia, including Japan.

This butterfly is black with a metallic blue shine that changes depending on the light. On their wings, they have white markings and small dark blue spots.

They also have reddish-orange undersides with white bands, black spots, and markings. This butterfly’s wingspan ranges from 46 to 54 mm. This species’ host plant is honeysuckle, where adults feed on flower nectars and caterpillars feed on stems.

7. White admiral

White admiral butterfly on a leaf
White admiral butterfly on a leaf | image by BMR Images via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis

The white admiral is one of the four North American admiral butterfly species. They’re common and widespread, and can be found in a variety of habitats such as woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, orchards, and stream banks.

Adult butterflies are distinguished by their bluish-black wings with white bands across both wings, as are other admiral butterflies. These species have orange undersides with white bands and black markings all over them. White admirals are known to be very active, but they only fly for short periods of time and at low altitudes.

8. Poplar admiral

Poplar admiral on white flower
Poplar admiral on white flower | image by Ilia Ustyantsev via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis populi

The poplar admiral butterfly is found in Europe and Central Asia. It’s also known as Europe’s largest butterfly. It has a wingspan of 72 to 80 mm, with females being larger than males.

The white bands on their wings are wider and more visible in females than males. The edges of their wings also have orange and blue borders. You can find this butterfly in forests, where black poplars and aspens grow.

9. Viceroy

Viceroy butterfly
Viceroy butterfly | Image by Domianick from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Limenitis archippus

The viceroy butterfly is one of North America’s most well-known butterflies. These medium oranges and black butterflies flutter from flower to flower, feeding on the nectars of milkweeds, thistles, and other native flowers. Their caterpillars can be seen feeding on the plants of the willow family.

The Viceroy butterfly has evolved over time to look almost exactly like the Monarch butterfly, which is toxic and makes predators hesitant about eating them. However, the two can be distinguished by their size and some color patterns. Compared to monarchs, viceroys are smaller and have a black line on their veins.

10. Eurasian white admiral

Eurasian white admiral on the ground
Eurasian white admiral on the ground | image by Björn S… via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis camilla

This species of Eurasian white admiral can be found from England to the eastern parts of Wales. They can be found in woodlands and conifer plantations, where they feed on honeysuckle plants. These species are regarded as one of the most graceful butterflies, gliding high in the tree tops in search of mates.

The caterpillar of this butterfly camouflages itself in bird droppings to avoid being eaten by its predators.

11. Red-spotted purple admiral

Red-spotted purple admiral butterfly
Red-spotted purple admiral butterfly | image by Thomas Shahan via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax

The red-spotted purple admiral is a subspecies of the white admiral butterfly. It shares all of the characteristics of white admirals, but its wings are slightly different in color. Adult butterflies have dark blue uppersides but don’t have the white bands seen on white admirals.

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They have red spots on their forewings and bluish-green or bright iridescent blue hindwings on their forewings. In North America, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, and New Hampshire are among the states where one can frequently see these butterflies.