Limenitis [Basilarchia] lorquini
Lorquin’s Admiral

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name:
Orange-Tip Admiral.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is dark to light greenish brown, mottled with white toward the front, with light bands on the sides and a white patch on the back. There are two feathery-looking horns behind the head, a yellowish hump before the white mark, and several bumps on the back.
Adult: This butterfly is fairly large, with a wingspan of 2 to 2 inches. The upperside is dark brown to black, with an off-white to beige band on either of the body side running diagonally across both the fore- and hindwing. There is a single white spot on the forewing, to the inside of the off-white band. The outermost tip of the forewing is marked with orange. The underside is marked with varying widths of vertical bands of orange, red, brown, and white.

This is a species of the west coast, ranging from central British Columbia south to southern California, and east as far as western Montana, Idaho, and northern Nevada. In Idaho it ranges throughout the north and center, and in patches of the southwestern corner of the state.

It can be found in a variety of habitats, including forest edges, poplar groves, orchards, river bottoms, and canyons.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of willows (Salix spp.), cottonwoods and poplars (Populus spp.), and some fruit trees (Prunus spp.).
Adult: Butterflies have a diversified diet, including dung, bird droppings, and flower nectar from species such as the California buckeye (Aesculus californica), yerba santa (Eriodictyon spp.), and privet (Ligustrum spp.).

Young caterpillars overwinter in a physiological state called diapause, immerging in the spring to feed, molt, and eventually pupate. A "sleeping bag", called a hibernaculum, is constructed for overwintering from a leaf rolled with silk. In the northern parts of the range there is typically one generation each year. There may be several in California, in which case only the caterpillars of the last generation overwinter. Adults generally fly from March to Novemeber. They may hybridize with another Limenitis species, Limenitis weidemeyerii, where the ranges of the two species overlap. The butterflies can be aggressive, pursuing anything passing by where they have perched. The name of the species is in honor of Pierre Lorquin, a French butterfly collector from the mid-1800s.

Males perch to wait for receptive females to fly by, and may occasionally actively patrol for them. Females lay eggs on the topside of the tips of leaves of host plants.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.  Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.