Poplar Admiral

Limenitis populi


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Male, Switzerland, May 2011

Limenitis populi

Male, Switzerland, June 2015

Limenitis populi

Male, Switzerland, June 2015

Limenitis populi

Male, Switzerland, June 2015

Limenitis populi

Male, with white admirals, Switzerland, June 2015

Limenitis populi

Male, with white admirals, Switzerland, June 2015

Limenitis populi

Male, Switzerland, June 2015

Male, Switzerland, May 2011



Male, Switzerland, May 2011

Male, Switzerland, May 2011



Male, Switzerland, May 2011



Male, Switzerland, May 2011

Limenitis populi female

Female, Switzerland, June 2014


Female, Switzerland, July 2006

The last picture shows the first poplar admiral I ever saw. I came across her by chance and had just a few seconds to take this picture before she was up and away. A moment to savour, especially as it was not 10 minutes cycle ride away from my house! 'Local patch' butterflies have a special taste. Since then I have seen this species yearly but was not able to get close enough for good pictures until May 2011, when Matt Rowlings and I found a very tame male near Geneva. In 2015 I found a track with double figures of this species flying - all males. 

Poplar admirals are not only very rare (though widely distributed), but also utterly magnificent butterflies. A Swiss book I own notes that even a medium-sized female is bigger than any other Swiss butterfly. The female above was in the undergrowth, on the point of flying, when I came across her. She rose like a kite, circled like a huge glider and floated effortlessly into the distance, all apparently without moving her wings. I hope I shall have some opportunities in the future to make more observations of this tremendous butterfly.