Limenitis arthemis a butterfly species with mimetic and non-mimetic populations
Limenitis arthemis (Nymphalidae) is a species of butterfly native to North America, found throughout the eastern United States and West into the Rocky Mountains. These butterflies are commonly referred to as White Admiral.
This species is a polytypic complex with several forms (subspecies). This means that there are differences in color between populations; some populations are mimetic, some other are non-mimetic, and there is a phenotypic transition zone between mimetic and non-mimetic populations.
White-banded populations of these butterflies (Limenitis arthemis arthemis and Limenitis arthemis rubrofasciata) range widely from northeastern to northwestern North America, as far west as Alaska. These forms are non-mimetic.
By contrast, Red-spotted purples forms (Limenitis arthemis arizonensis and Limenitis arthemis astyanax) are distributed in southwestern North America and the southeastern United States, and are well-known Batesian mimics of the chemically defended Pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor).
A recent study on the evolutionary relationships among the North American representatives of this genus has hypothesized that white-banded populations of L. arthemis are the result of an evolutionary reversal by loss of the mimetic phenotype. If true, this finding represents the only documented example (in butterflies) of a reversion to the ancestral phenotype because of selection against mimicry.
The top picture shows a mimetic Red-spotted Purple, while the bottom picture a non-mimetic White-banded; both are subspecies of Limenitis arthemis.
Purple #coral #fungi . Coolest thing I’ve ever seen. #nature #rsa_nature #nepa
Swallowtail caterpillar showing off its defensive horns.
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Lets talk about being small