Red-Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly Coloration and Size

The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is black with blue or blue-screen scaling. It features orange or red marks on the tips of the wings.

At first glance, it appears to be a swallowtail. But it has no tails! It does mimic the distasteful Pipevine Swallowtail.

The size of the Red-Spotted Purple is typically in the 3.0" - 3.5" range. It normally produces 2-3 broods per year.

Distribution and Habitat

The Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is normally seen in the Eastern United States, from the Gulf Coast to southern Canada.

It is not an abundant species, and is most often seen in woodlands and along streams and marsh land. It often lands high in trees, but will drop to ground level to feed and sip at mud puddles and stream banks.

Nectar and Host Plants Used by the Red-Spotted Purple

Host plants used by the Red-Spotted Purple include cottonwood, willows, poplars, black oaks, hawthorn and other trees.

It gathers nectar from a variety of flowers, but prefers tree samp, rotting fruit, dung and carrion.

Photos of Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly
Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly on a pink Butterfly Bush
Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly


Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly ... a regular visitor to our hummingbird feeder!
Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly ... a regular visitor to our hummingbird feeder!