Lorquin’s Admiral

Lorquin’s Admiral

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).

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5 Responses to Lorquin’s Admiral

  1. Pingback: California Sister | The Nature Niche

  2. usermattw says:

    Thanks for pointing out the pear. The perspective of the pear shows that the butterfly is quite large!

    • gingkochris says:

      Leonard keeps reminding me how important it is to include scale in the photos. That is much easier with plants, although even then I too often am lazy about adding a scale, particularly in the field. Thankfully this admiral provided his own point of reference.

  3. Lin says:

    Saw one just the other day…I always enjoy your butterfly posts…and new words !

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