Friday, 8 July 2016

White Admiral

If you choose your moment, you can approach the White Admiral (Limenitis camilla) with relative ease. During the middle of a warm sunny day this species is very active, patrolling the tree-tops and occasionally descending to feed at bramble flowers but if you can observe them as they are waking early in the day then they are more inclined to rest and bask as the strengthening sun rises.
On a couple of days this week I was out in the woods by 0800hrs.

White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)

I have never found ova or pupae of this species in the wild but I have found a few larvae in varying stages of their development over the years. They are wonderfully bizarre looking creatures. I didn't come across any this year but here are some photographs from 2014 and 2015. This species passes the winter as a young larva within a hibernaculum made from a honeysuckle leaf (the foodplant). It emerges from hibernation in early spring and is fully grown by the end of May or early June. 
A 3rd instar larva and its hibernaculum, April 2015.
A 4th instar larva in typical resting posture, April 2014.
A final instar larva in typical defence posture, May 2014.
A final instar larva feeding on honeysuckle, May 2014.
A final instar larva at rest, May 2014.

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