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Montana Field Guides

Weidemeyer's Admiral - Limenitis weidemeyerii

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 3.0-4.4 cm. Uppersurface black with striking white median band on both wings, the submarginal areas of the hindwing black, often with a small white spot in forewing cell, forewing apex black; undersurface brown with white markings repeated, inner half of hindwing gray-white with dark crosslines, marginal spots on hindwing gray-white.

One flight, mainly June to July in the mountains; two flights, June to August at lower elevation and in the south (Scott 1986). Mainly mid-June to mid-August (Glassberg 2001). Early June to early September in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), mid-June to early August or early June to late September in Oregon (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of uppersurface black with striking white median band on both wings, forewing apex black; inner half of hindwing undersurface gray-white with dark crosslines.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Southern Alberta south in the Rocky Mountain states and Great Basin to extreme east-central California and southern New Mexico, east to the western Dakotas and Nebraska (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to 3353 m elevation in Colorado but rare above 2743 m (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981), to 2134 m elevation in Nevada and 2225 m in California (Emmel et al. 1970), to 1981 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported across the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Uncommon to common (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 29

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Streamsides, aspen groves, montane forest, riparian forest, willow wetlands, urban areas, parks (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana, reported from montane mesic meadows (Debinski 1993).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Amelanchier, Holodiscus (several species), Populus, Prunus, and Salix (Emmel et al. 1970; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Apocynum, Asclepias, Buddleia, Carduus, Ceanothus, Chrysothamnus, Clematis, Conium, Helianthus, Heracleum, Jamesia, Lupinus, Medicago, Monarda, Oxpolis, Physocarpus, Rhus, Rudbeckia, Senecio, Solidago, Symphyotrichum, Tilia), fruit, sap, dung, aphid honeydew, puddles, mud (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 2014; Rosenberg 1989).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on the upperside of host plant leaf tips, often on young host plants. L3 instar (sometimes L4) overwinters (hibernates) in woven-leaf hibernaculum (Brown 1957; Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006; Pyle 2002). Males territorial, perch throughout the day on shrubs and trees about 2-3 m above ground in gullies to intercept passing females, less often patrol in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Rosenberg and Enquist 1991; Pyle 2002).

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Citation for data on this website:
Weidemeyer's Admiral — Limenitis weidemeyerii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from