The Southern White Admiral is a beautiful woodland butterfly, and with a wingspan ranging from 5.5 to 6.5cm it is quite conspicuous. The undersides of the wings are more strikingly coloured than the rather subdued uppersides, which are black with white bands. A single row of black spots on the underside of the hindwing distinguishes it from the Southern White Admiral, L. camilla, in which the underside of the hindwing has a double row of black spots.
Never abundant, Southern White Admirals occur mainly in central-southern Europe (excluding central and southern Portugal and the south of Spain).
The Southern White Admiral is most commonly seen in central European countries, notably France (where we photographed the specimen shown above) and Germany and in a broad band across to Turkey as well as onwards through central Asia to include Japan. The northern range of this butterfly does not include Scandinavia.
The specimen shown above was photographed in Bulgaria, where the White Admiral, Limenitis camilla, and the Southern White Admiral, Limenitis reducta, are quite often seen together.
From eggs laid in late summer on Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, spiny brown larvae hatch in a few days and begin feeding on the leaves of this climbing plant rather than on its very beautiful scented flowers. (Honeysuckle flowers are very attractive to many kinds of butterflies, however, because they are an abundant source of nectar.) The caterpillars overwinter in a curled up drief leaf, reawakening ion the springtime and resuming feeding on new growth of the foodplant; they pupate attacked to Honeysuckle stems.
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