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Deciduous forests, open woodland, and even gardens act as their sanctuaries.
Prefering the shadows of foliage, this butterfly species dislikes open, sunny areas. It has a love of damp or humid spaces.
They are adept at surviving various climate zones.
They establish colonies in moderate climates of the Mediterranean region, while also adapting to colder temperatures in the mountainous areas of the Alps and Pyrenees.
They can be found in central and southern Europe (northern Iberia, southern and eastern France, Italy, the Balkans, and the Alps, in Western Asia, in Syria, the Caucasus and Iran.
They live in light woodlands, in woodland glades and along forest edges, at an elevation of 0 – 1,650 metres (0 – 5,413 ft) above sea level.
Their swift, graceful flight often at tree-top level characterizes its behavior in nature.
Throughout its flight, the Southern White Admiral Butterfly tends to dip and rise, creating an almost wave like motion.
Their wings show a classic white, slightly iridescent streak, contrasting beautifully with their black and dark brown colors.
Females, on the other hand, have the same striking wing pattern. However, their larger size and somewhat distended abdomen offer the easiest clues to their identity.
Ventral wing surfaces are a shiny iridescent blue, contrasted with white bands that create the pattern of a reversed ‘C’. (This is a unique characteristic of this butterfly species.)
The underbelly portrays a pale brown color with varying shades and strikes of white.
The Southern White Admiral Butterfly has a fascinating courting ritual. Males stake out territories, often on sunny perches, and patiently wait for females to fly by.
When a potential mate is sighted, the courting male takes off in pursuit, exhibiting bold and rapid flights.
The courtship is very theatrical. Males perform whirls, loops, and spirals in their flight patterns to attract and mate with a receptive female.
Once a female is receptive, copulation takes place in the air. A couple in copulation can hover for about half an hour before they land for an hour or two.
The female then embarks on the task of laying her fertilized eggs, concluding the mating ritual.
The entire mating cycle, from territorial wait to egg-laying, is about 3-4 hours.
This species may have one or more generations, depending on the location.
They fly from May to August depending on the location
Diet: Larvae feed on honeysuckle.
Diet: Adults feed on nectar of a wide range of herbaceous and arboreal flowers, but also take fallen fruits, dung, aphid secretions and mineralised moisture from damp ground
Wingspan: 4.6 – 5.4 cm / 1 13/16 - 2 1/8"
Typically, females are larger than males.
*The blue color of Southern White Admirals, as with all blue butterflies, is produced by the microscopic structure of the scales refracting light to create the blue coloration. This is called structural coloration. (Blue pigmentation does not exist in butterflies.)
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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