Friday 6 August 2010

Southern White Admiral - Le Sylvain azuré

One of the most gorgeous butterflies we get in the Touraine is the Southern White Admiral Limentis reducta (or le Sylvain azuré to its French friends). If you just saw it resting with wings spread you might wonder what I was talking about. It's a smart enough looking black and white butterfly with a hint of steely blue irridescence, but there are several species like that here, so what's remarkable about this one?

It is the underside – so stunning it could belong to a completely different butterfly. It is a rich mixture of powdery pure white, a strange purply red rust colour with a metallic sheen, gray and black.

The caterpillars eat honeysuckle and the adults like to fly along forest edges and sunny hedges, slopes overgrown with bushes and open woodland and are very attracted to flowers.



Diane said...

This is beautiful. I have never seen a butterfly that is a completely different colour on the underside of the wing like this. Diane

Ken Broadhurst said...

Yes, beautiful, Susan. I don't think I've seen one of these at all.

And off topic: I've been meaning to tell you how good your garden-grown onions and garlic are. We've really been enjoying them both. Very fresh, unblemished, tasty.

Susan said...

Diane: The first time you see it, it's a real surprise.

Ken: I'm glad you are enjoying them. I fear they may be the only veg we get in any quantity this year. We seem to have had a lot less rain than you in July, and I'm not harvesting much of anything at the moment.

Unknown said...

I stay at Charnizay and I like your pages about orchids and this butterfly is so gorgeous - we have them in our (small) garden, they uplift the soul. Many thanks for your blog I love reading it.

Susan said...

Robert: Thanks very much :-)

Tim said...

Susan, this is a stunner... and a great shot too! I've never seen one here... but someone did and killed it [a long time ago].... at the Kermesse at the priest's pad last Sunday there was a "brocante"... actually more of a "broke"ante stall [I've never seen so many chipped or cracked items in one place]
At said broke-ant there were two small wall hangers [about 3" x 6"]... with butterflies and seaweed inside... one had an Apollo and something all black and steel blue I couldn't identify and the other had Map, Comma and a Southern White Admiral... the last upside down... for the reasons you show here.
No I didn't buy them!! I'd rather have the real thing flspping around... even if it won't pose like this one for a photo!!

Susan said...

Tim: the use of dead butterflies as decorator items is hard to justify, but old collections of specimens, properly labelled, are an invaluable resource for scientists today.

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