White Admiral - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation
White Admiral (m) 2008 - Clive Burrows White Admiral (f) 2005 - Lee Browne

White Admiral

Limenithis camilla

Declining in woodland

White Admiral branch distribution

Distribution and Status

In the 1980s the White Admiral occurred in a number of the larger woods in Hertfordshire like the Broxbourne Woods complex and in the west, Bricket Wood Common and the Ashridge area near Tring. By end of the 1990s however, many of the colonies in the west of the county died out and the main colonies were now in the Broxbourne area. Reports were now coming from the Ruislip Woods complex in Middlesex. The 2000s, perhaps aided by the warmer summers in 2003 and 2006, brought about a small expansion of this species so that it is now seen in more tetrads in Hertfordshire as well as in north-west Middlesex. However, the last few years have seen a worrying decline although 2022 saw a welcome significant increase in range and abundance.

Habitat Requirements

Deciduous woodlands where its hostplant Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum grows in shady situations but sunlit rides are required for males establishing territories

Larval Foodplants

Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum

Adult Food Sources

Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg., Buddleia Buddleja davidii, Alder Buckthorn Frangula alnus. Ergot (fungus), Ground/mud/road surface

Behaviour/Observation notes

Although the White Admiral spends some time in the tree canopy like the Purple Emperor, males often fly at lower levels in sunlit rides. Both sexes will occasionally come down to feed. If you know where to find the butterfly, with some patience you may be lucky to find it basking or feeding on flowering brambles with its wings wide open to provide good photographic opportunities

White Admiral branch phenology

Life History

Usually only one generation a year is produced with emergence from the middle of June until the end of July. A partial second brood is sometimes produced in warm summers as in 2006. Females lay eggs singly on the upperside of a honeysuckle leaf in slightly shady situations. Larvae feed on the tip and sides of a midrib of a leaf before forming a hibernaculum for the winter. Feeding is resumed in the spring. When fully grown, a pupa is formed suspended from a leaf or stem

Further information

Photo gallery
Branch Annual Report (2022)
More on life cycle and status
UK distribution map
Full list of larval hostplants (Nymphalidae)
Stevenage butterflies - additional notes


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