Southern White Admiral

Limenitis reducta


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Limenitis reducta

Male, Switzerland, June 2018

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, June 2014

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, August 2017

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, June 2014

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, July 2019

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, August 2017

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, August 2013

Limenitis reducta

Switzerland, August 2013



Male, Switzerland, May 2012



Switzerland, June 2012 (on my camera bag)



Switzerland, September 2012

Provence, July 2004

A group drinking, Provence, July 2004

A male guarding his territory - Switzerland, May 2007

Switzerland, August 2007



Switzerland, August 2007



Switzerland, August 2007

Switzerland, June 2005

Llimenitis reducta larva

Caterpillar, May 2014

Limenitis reducta larva

Caterpillar, May 2014

Limenitis reducta larva

Switzerland, May 2014

Limenitis reducta larva

Switzerland, May 2014

Limenitis reducta egg

Egg, Arag˛n, July 2017

Limenitis reducta distribution

As its name suggests, this close relative of the white admiral is restricted to the southern half of Europe, where it frequents hot, open areas near and in woodland. Like the white admiral, it uses honeysuckles as foodplants, but generally in less shaded situations - sometimes even out in the open. I have only twice watched females laying and in both cases they chose the underside of leaves rather than the upperside, invariably chosen by the white admiral. Presumably this is to protect the egss from the searing heat of the midday sun. Again like white admirals, southern white admirals are local but often very common. Males defend territories from vantage points on bushes or trees looking over rides, clearings or open spaces, and zoom out when any living thing passes. A single male may use several different perches, spread out over a small area or along a track, and may be seen cruising between them.

The metallic blue of the upperside of this insect is unmistakeable. White admirals, by contrast, are brown, more rounded, and also have a double rather than single row of post-discal/submarginal dark spots on the upperside and underside of the hindwing. Although the typical habitats of the two species are rather different they do occasionally fly in the same places - I know one river valley in Switzerland where both fly - so care has to be taken to distinguish them. However, the jizz and behaviour are so different it is rare for real confusion to arise.

In the northern parts of its range, including Switzerland, there is usually just one brood a year. Further south - and some years in Switzerland - there are two broods. The single brood usually flies from late May to early August. When there are two broods, the first flies from April to June and the second from late July into September. Caterpillars have similar habits to white admiral caterpillars, like them hibernating in a hibernaculum.