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Something Purple This Way Comes | by martytdx
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Something Purple This Way Comes

Red-Spotted Purple

Limenitis arthemis, Limenitis arthemis astyanax

 

I was at my parents yesterday, and wanted to do a quick survey of the complement of coneflowers, butterfly bushes and other flowers they had to see if they had any interesting butterflies. Mostly laden with Sachem and Broken Dash skippers, I did find my first Meadow Fritillary, as well as this beauty. At first, I thought it was a Black Swallowtail, then revised that to a Spicebush Swallowtail. It wasn't until I got home and tried to find it in Butterflies through Binoculars that I realized that it was a Red-Spotted Purple, a species I had only seen once before near Lake Oconee, GA.

 

Red-Spotted Purples are not a species per se; instead, they are a sub-species of the White Admiral, and will even cross-breed and create intergrade specimens. As such, though they fit within the species Limentis arthemis, they have their own sub-species Limentis arthemis astyanax, with the astyanax coming from the Greek name given to Hector's son in The Iliad (from bugguide.net/node/view/38193).

 

Regardless, I was amazed by the colors these hectic butterflies possessed - and I'm just sorry that I didn't get a better dorsal shot than this. But this side shot - far from perfect - does show their impressive ventral coloration (best viewed large).

 

P.S. Here's my previous shot from Georgia.

 

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Taken on July 16, 2006