While reading a novel a friend lent me, I was reintroduced to a word from my distant past – frass. OK, I will be honest! I decided to post a butterfly so that I could use the word frass, meaning debris or excrement produced by boring or leaf-eating insects. In other words, butterfly poo! It comes from the German for “insect damage” or more literally “eating away”. And the German is derived from the Old High German “vraz” or “food”. Interesting!! Now that the word frass is out of my system, I can move on to a butterfly.
Lorquin’s admiral (Limenitis lorquini) is a butterfly whose wings are brown-black on the upper side with a row of white to yellowish spots across each wing. The upper tips of the forewings are orange. The undersides of the wings are patterned reddish-brown and white.
Found from British Columbia to Southern California and east to Idaho and western Montana, this admiral inhabits river bottoms, lake shores, forest margins and poplar and cottonwood groves.
The life cycle of a butterfly consists of egg, caterpillar or larvae, pupae or cocoon and adult stages. Lorquin’s admiral eggs are laid on the upperside tips of host plants while caterpillars overwinter in rolled leaf shelters on the host plants, including orchard trees, wild cherries, willows, poplars and cottonwoods. Adult Lorquin’s admirals eat nectar from plants, bird droppings and dung.
This beautiful butterfly is named after Pierre Joseph Michael Lorquin (1797 – 1873), a French naturalist and entomologist who made two expeditions to the West Coast and studied the natural history of the area.
This Lorquin’s admiral was photographed enjoying a juicy pear on a tree in our yard (Modoc County CA).