The white admiral or red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis) is a polytypic species of North American brush-footed butterfly, common throughout much of the eastern United States. L. a. astyanax has red spots on its underside and the top of the wings are notable for their iridescent blue markings. L. a. arthemis on the other hand has a large white band traversing both the forewings and hindwings.
Distribution map of Limenitis arthemis. The red shows the range of L. a. arthemis; the orange L. a. astyanax; the green L. a. arizonensis; and the yellow shows where the ranges of L. a arthemis and L. a. astyanax overlap.
The red-spotted purple is a mimic of the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) and is typically found in open woodlands and along forest edges.
Both sexes of this species are identical except that the females are slightly larger than the males. The upper side of L. a. arthemis is mostly blackish-blue with white postmedian bands across both wings. Some individuals have a row of red submarginal spots, while others have this area being blue. The underside of the wings is a blackish color with a broad white postmedian band. The basal area of both wings contains many red spots. The submarginal area may contain a row of red spots and the marginal area having bluish spots. However, sometimes the submarginal and marginal areas are just a reddish-brown color.
The upper side of L. a. astyanax is very much like L. a. arthemis except it lacks the broad white bands. The fore wing submarginal area will sometimes have a row of red spots. The hind wings are either a bright iridescent blue or an iridescent bluish-green. The underside of the wings lacks the white band. The basal area has several red spots. It has a row of red submarginal spots and bluish marginal spots.
L. a. arizonensis is indistinguishable from L. a. astyanax except that L. a. arizonensis is found in the southwest and its range does not overlap the range of L. a. astyanax.
Intermediates between L. a. arthemis and L. a. astyanax can occur. L. a. arthemis f. proserpina has faint white bands. L. a. arthemis f. albofaciata has more conspicuous white bands but they are not as broad as the bands are on L. a. arthemis. source