Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The White Admiral:
White Admiral
Limenitis camilla (Linnaeus, 1764)

White Admiral egg.
ova
  White Admiral caterpillar.
larva
  White Admiral chrysalis
pupa
White Admiral
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Limenitinae : Genus Limenitis: Species camilla:
Description
The White Admiral is a stunning woodland butterfly. From a distance the wings are black/dark brown with a band of white but on closer inspection subtle patterns and colouration occur in the dark areas of the wing. The undersides are more colourful, sky blue near the body, with a dark red/brown and white band corresponding to the upper wing pattern.

The White Admiral has a distinctive and delicate flight pattern consisting of short periods of wing beats, followed by long glides often very near the ground. Adults are often found feeding on Bramble flowers in woodland rides and clearings but may also be encountered on the ground feeding on nutrient rich soils. They are sometimes seen feeding on bird droppings. It prefers shady areas, flying in dappled sunlight. The females lay their eggs on Honeysuckle.

The eggs are laid in late summer, hatching soon after. The small brown spiny larvae feed on the tips of Honeysuckle leaves before sheltering in a dried, rolled up leaf known as a hibernaculum for the winter. As new fresh leaves appear on Honeysuckle plant during the following spring, the larvae feed and as they grow, change into a stunning but highly camouflaged form which is very difficult to find in the wild. The larvae pupate on the plant and look like a leaf and are again extremely well camouflaged.

The White Admiral is a Priority Species for conservation due to the continued loss of habitat and resulting drop in population.
Habitat
The White Admiral prefers shady woodland and woodland rides in mature woodland. Sunny glades with patches of Bramble and other flowers providing nectar are also required.
Distribution
Although its range is expanding north probably due to global warming the White Admiral suffers from poor or complete lack of woodland management. It occurs across southern Britain, spreading rapidly since the 1920s.
Where to see the White Admiral in the British Isles
Although its range is expanding north probably due to global warming the White Admiral suffers from poor or complete lack of woodland management. It occurs across southern Britain, spreading rapidly since the 1920s.

Key sites for the White Admiral include:
Dorset: Alners Gorse
Northamptonshire: Fermyn Wood, Salcey Forest
Warwickshire: Ryton Wood, Wappenbury Wood, Hartshill Hayes

Other notes
Lifecycle chart
larvaelarvaelarvaelarvaelarvaepupaadultadultovaovalarvaeadultlarvaelarvaelarvaelarvae
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the White Admiral in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
Vulnerable Vulnerable

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Vulnerable Vulnerable

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
54-66mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
The larvae feed solely on the leaves of Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum). 1st first instar larvae can be found on drapes of Honeysuckle in partially shaded woodland.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 down by -36%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 down by -62%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status candidate priority species (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the White Admiral except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the White Admiral on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
White Admiral can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
White Admiral can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the White Admiral
Image ID BB2299 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB2299 ©
Image ID BB1885 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1885 ©
Image ID BB1884 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1884 ©
Image ID BB1883 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1883 ©
Image ID BB1823 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral female (imago)
BB1823 ©
Image ID BB1822 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral female (imago)
BB1822 ©
Image ID BB1821 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1821 ©
Image ID BB1820 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1820 ©
Image ID BB1819 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral male (imago)
BB1819 ©
Image ID BB1818 - White Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
White Admiral (imago)
BB1818 ©
There are 18 photographs of the White Admiral in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the White Admiral as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 4 named aberrant forms of the White Admiral currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. minor - Derenne 1932
ab. nigrina - Wymer 1884
ab. obliterae - Robson & Gardner 1886
ab. semi-nigrina - Wymer 1884
White Admiral ab.semi-nigrina