Diggings logo

WSU/Pend Oreille Extension introduced the Sense of Place series in 1999, with a focus on local landscape and natural history of Pend Oreille County, Washington. A partnership with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department has allowed us to expand this program through EPA funding to include more classes, a newsletter and this website.

Admiring Admirals

by Michael Duncan

Walking along the small stream flowing down the mountainside, I was engulfed in a flutter of wings almost touching my nose. This was my first encounter with the Lorquin’s Admiral. Highly territorial (like most streamside denizens) it is quick to meet any intruder, including me. I sat and quietly waited for them to become accustomed to my presence. It took many attempts, crawling with camera in hand, to yield a few photos.

The Lorquin’s Admiral is one of five common admirals of the genus Limenitis. Four of them roughly divide up the continent with the fifth, the Viceroy, widespread. In the Northeast, the White Admiral is found, In the Southeast, the Red-spotted Purple. Each extends their range westerly to the Rocky Mountains. Throughout the Rockies and adjacent areas the Weidemeyer’s Admiral will be seen. The Lorquin’s is the West Coast admiral. Hybridization often occurs where ranges meet. The Red-spotted Purple, and the Viceroy are well known “mimics’ which accounts for their much different appearance from the other three. The former resembles the toxic Pipevine Swallowtail while many schoolchildren learn of the Viceroy disguising itself as a Monarch.

In my various communes with nature I have come to know all of these. The Red-Spotted Purple as far north as southern Michigan, the White Admiral in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Viceroy on the grill in my backyard, the Weidemeyer’s in the Wyoming Tetons, and the Lorquin’s here in Pend Oreille County. The beauty and variety of butterflies make any venture outside one’s door a chance to discover Mother Nature’s painted canvas.

<----previous article...Diggings Aug 2003...next article---->