Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Nymphalidae (nim-FAL-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Limenitis
Species: arthemis astyanax


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
Barling, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
Fountain, Florida (2 reports)
Lutz, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Griffin, Georgia
Divernon, Illinois
Galva, Illinois
La Grange Park, Illinois
Princeton, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Irvine, Kentucky
Hillsdale, Michigan
Ludington, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saucier, Mississippi
Wiggins, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Trenton, New Jersey
Orchard Park, New York
Van Etten, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Thomasville, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Glouster, Ohio
Haskins, Ohio
Mount Orab, Ohio
Spencer, Oklahoma
Alexandria, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Lebanon, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Magnolia, Texas
Charlottesville, Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On May 19, 2012, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

You can't stop looking at their wings...breathtaking to see in person.

"Preferred host plants: birches, including Betula lenta; Salicaceae, including Salix bebbiana and Populus tremuloides, and Prunus virginiana (Rosaceae). Also but not as often: Crataegus, Amelanchier, Malus pumila, Prunus pensylvanica and Prunus serotina (Rosaceae), Populus deltoides, P. grandidentata and P. balsamifera (Salicaceae), Alnus rugosa, Betula alleghaniensis and Carpinus caroliniana (Betulaceae), Ulmus americana (Ulmaceae), Tilia americana (Malvaceae) and Fagus grandifolia (Fagaceae).

Adults are diurnal, they fly from the morning until soon after dusk (Fullard & Napoleone 2001)."
http:... read more


On Sep 5, 2011, themikesmom from Concord, NC wrote:

Last year my son took a pic of what he thought was a Red Spotted Purple, but it turned out to be the black and blue variety of the usually yellow and black Eastern Swallowtail. Today we came home from lunch and this beautiful brilliant true Red Spotted Purple was resting on my son's bloomed out blue bubbles rose bush. I was able to get the perfect pic. Also I've been told it is extremely rare to find a Red Spotted Purple that actually has either some purple on its wings or the red spots on the wings, and this one had both the dark purple on it and the red spots!!! We feel really blessed that this thing of great natural beauty has chosen to rest in our garden. Sandra.


On Aug 23, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have always wanted to know what this beautiful butterfly is called, after a quick search on the computer I finally found out that this is what its called. very few times if ever, maybe twice in my life, have i seen them with small red spots at the bottom of they're wings, and never have i seen any purple on them, only beautiful irridescent blue and black, so why do they call it a Red Spotted Purple? mike.


On Jun 26, 2010, IvoryBill from Magnolia, TX wrote:

This Butterfly is gorgeous!!! The pictures never do it justice.


On Jun 29, 2009, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

We have RSPs visiting once in a while in our yard. I think they range out of our neighboring forests into our yard to look for spots to bask in the sun, animal scat and rotten fruit. Most recently we found one perched on an Oakleaf Hydrangea for much of an afternoon.

Their host plants common in Ohio include black cherry, poplars and aspen. They typically have two broods a year and pass the winter in the larval stage in our region . (Ohio DNR 'Common Butterflies & Skippers of Ohio' p.45)


On Dec 7, 2008, ClanCampbell from (Chris) Des Moines, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I found mine in 2007, just sitting on our screened in porch. It allowed me to take several close ups before flying off.
The picture doesn't do justice to the brilliant color!


On Oct 22, 2008, DATURA12 from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I found this beauty resting on my gardenia. According to NABA this butterfly is uncommon in my area.


On Apr 23, 2008, aggscott from Wilkes Barre, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I get alot of these guys around my area with the Willow they leave eggs is the only place I have ever found eggs around here. They are easy to raise as long as they have fresh leaves.
Loves older fruit and sap.


On Feb 13, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I saw a few last year - they're rather uncommon here in Minnesota. They seem to like woodland environment, doesn't seem to venture much in the open. Can be mistaken easily for black swallowtails.


On Aug 7, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:

The Red-Spotted Purple is one of the butterflies that gains protection from mimicking the Pipevine Swallowtail. In spite of the lack of 'tails' .. its coloration is similar enough, that it is considered a mimic.

Its common name refers to the red spots on its wing undersides.

Its larvae feed on several types of trees including willow and cherry. The adult can be attracted by putting out rotting fruit.