Scientific name: Limenitis camilla
This is a spectacular woodland butterfly, with white-banded black wings and a distinctive delicate flight.
Widespread in southern England, extending just into Wales and northwards. The butterfly has white-banded black wings and a distinctive delicate flight with short periods of wing beats, followed by long glides. It could be confused with the larger Purple Emperor.
Adults are often found nectaring on Bramble flowers in rides and clearings. It is a fairly shade-tolerant butterfly, flying in dappled sunlight to lay eggs on Honeysuckle.
The White Admiral occurs widely in southern Britain and has spread rapidly since the 1920s, after an earlier contraction. However, population monitoring has shown a dramatic decline in the last 20 years for reasons that are as yet unclear.
Size and Family
- Family – Nymphalids
- Size: Medium/Large
- Wing Span Range (male to female): 60-64mm
- Countries – England and Wales
- Restricted to southern and central England
- Distribution Trend Since 1970’s: -31%
- Butterfly Conservation priority: High
- Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England
- Section 42 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in Wales
- UK BAP status: Priority Species
- European threat status: Not threatened
The sole foodplant is Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), usually in shady positions.
The butterfly uses shady woodland and ride edges, often associated with neglected or mature woodland where there are sunny glades with large patches of Bramble to provide nectar for the adults. It is found in both deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous woodland.