Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red-spotted Purple

The Red-spotted Purple is polymorphic, which means it comes in two forms. These different patterns used to be considered separate species. The second morph is named the White Admiral. Red-spotted Purples occur south of a line from central New England, Michigan and Minnesota. White Admirals are found north of the line. Where the two forms meet, massive hybridization occurs. Last March I blogged about such a hybrid.

Red-spotted Purples mimic poisonous Pipevine Swallowtails. Adult Purples eat sap, rotting fruit, dead animals, dung, and small white flowers (Wisconsin Butterlies.org). The butterflies in my photos, taken last summer, were sipping bikers' sweat on a bench along the Cannon Valley Bike Trail.

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