Lepidoptera The White Admiral Butterfly – Limenitis Sibylla
The White Admiral (Plate IV, fig. 5) is neither so pretty nor so common as its red namesake, but it is nevertheless a fine insect, although the chief beauty is reserved for the under surface. Above, the ground colour is a very dark rusty brown, relieved by bands and spots of white. The under surface is beautifully marked with silvery blue, bright orange brown, and white, the latter being arranged just like the corresponding colour on the upper side.
It will be observed that this butterfly does not belong to the Vanessa genus; so, while we may look for family resemblances, we shall observe a few features in which it differs from the preceding species.
It is not by any means abundant, being unknown in Scotland and Ireland, and confined in England almost exclusively to the oak woods of the south, where its food plant-the honeysuckle (Lonicera Periclymenum)-abounds. Here it may be seen during July, gracefully sailing among the trees and across the open spaces.
The caterpillar is very different from those of the Vanessas. Its colour is dark green, with a narrow white stripe along each side. There are very conspicuous branched spines on the third and two following segments, also on the eleventh and twelfth; and smaller spines on most of the others. All the spines are of a brownish colour, with pink tips. While it is yet very small it prepares its winter quarters by bending round the remains of a leaf on which it has been feeding, securing the edges by silken threads, and then binding it to the stem of the plant. Soon after, the petiole becomes detached from the stem, and the little caterpillar then rests suspended in its snug swinging cradle, where it remains perfectly secure till the following April, when the warm sun calls it out to feed on the opening leaves. It continues at this till about the beginning of June, and then changes to a beautiful angular and eared chrysalis, of a bright green colour, marked with brown, and having brilliant silvery spots and streaks.