Limenitis camilla

White Admiral


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2009

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2006

Field notes and information

One of the rarities in my youth in the UK. It was found very occasionaly in woods near me in Huntingdonshire in the 80s. I never had the luck to see one, but now it is a regular sighting as the species is pushing its range northwards.

Identification & Similar species: Superficially similar to the southern white admiral, L. reducta, but there are many differences. See that species for more information.

Distribution & Flight: From north Spain, France and south UK eastwards. Sporadic in the Balkans. Flies in a single brood in June and July.

Habitat & Behaviour: It flies in mature forests and is found in open glades and paths where it rests on leaves to bask in the sunshine. It is very partial to taking salts from damp, salt rich sources - damp mud, carrion and animal droppings are all favourites. The very dense clumps of butterflies photographed were centred on fox droppings, a particularly favoured source of nutrients it would seem.

Variation: Melanic forms are reportedly found at a frequency of about 1% of a population. Certainly, on one day in June 2005 I found a number of melanics (of varying degrees of blackness) amongst many hundreds of normal butterflies which seemed to support this figure.

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2006

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2022

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2005

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2005

An amazing group of butterflies taking salts from fox faeces.

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2021

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2019

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2017

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2005

The blackest melanic of the day.

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2017

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2005

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2005

Another amazing group - note the Lesser Purple Emperor, Apatura ilia, in the centre.

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2015

With a poplar admiral L. populi.

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2022

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2022

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2019

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2015