Limenitis arthemis rubrofasciata

Photo Life History:

Habitat:  Valley Lakes & Rivers; Mountain Canyons; Urban-Suburban (Populations have been found right in Fairbanks, Alaska near Goldstream Creek.)

Host Plants:  Salix spp.; Populus spp.

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Any convenient willows, cottonwoods, or aspens

How to Find Female Butterflies:  Click here

How to Care for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques

Methods of Female Oviposition:  High Humidity Cages; expose caged females to filtered sunlight.  Potted Plant Sleeves.  (Misting spraying sleeves with water a few times can affect females to lay more eggs.)  Female L. arthemis rubrofasciata oviposited well on a branch sleeve of an aspen tree in montane habitat where the sleeve was exposed to filtered sunlight.

How to Find Eggs: Look on tips of leaves 

How to Hatch Eggs:  Keep egg on original leaf.  Keep humid!

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: Look on isolated host plants growing near rivers, creeks, and lakes; focusing on young instar perches on tips of leaves.  Also, larval hibernacula can be visually conspicuous. 

Caterpillar setups:  Semi-closed terrariums; Potted Plant

Larva to Pupa:  Caterpillar silks to leaf or twig; creates and attaches cremaster; hanging as a J before pupating.

How to Find Pupae in the Field: 

Number of Broods per Year:  1

Overwintering Stage:  Third instar in hibernaculum

Overwintering Strategies: Alpine Overwintering Technique (Whatever technique you use, make sure hibernacula are exposed to consistent humidity and airflow.)

Post-Hibernation Strategies:  Well documented with this link-->Post-diapause Limenitis third instar caterpillars.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Expose second instar larvae to 24 hours of light!  Once a first instar Limenitis arthemis rubrofasicata molts to second instar in nature, it begins monitoring daylength and will build a hibernaculum and diapause at third instar where it will need to spend the winter in the cold and brought out in the spring.  (See previous two sections on overwintering strategies and post-hibernation strategies.)  Again, the only way to avoid this is to expose this is to expose freshly molted second instar larvae to 24 hours of light per day.  (This is especially critical for L. arthemis rubrofasciata as populations further north of a given latitude will diapause regardless of photoperiod measured by second instars.)

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every five days. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  Special thanks to Jack Harry for his help with this butterfly. Most Limenitis that are reared with a 24 hour photoperiod will not diapause. Freshly molted 2nd instars are especially sensitive to monitoring photoperiod. First instars do not. In habitats where the hosts are scattered or confined, ova and small larvae can be collected. During the late fall or winter, when most of the leaves have fallen, it is not too difficult to spot hibernacula.