From above, the Red-spotted Purple is primarily a black butterfly with iridescent blue, that is most impressive in good light, where the red spots that are noticeable from below can sometimes be seen. This butterfly is a mimic of the Pipevine Swallowtail and as such looks like a miniature swallowtail, but with no tail. There are a few white spots near the apex of the forewing. Below, this butterfly is black with blue spots in the wing margins, but obvious submarginal red spots in both the forewing and hindwing and some red spots nearer the body.
The red-spotted purple is resident from Florida westward to eastern Texas and northward into Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Preferred plant hosts for red-spotted purple larvae in Florida are black cherry, deerberry and occasionally willows. In the Northern states, a variety of other plants are used including aspens, poplars, cottonwood, hawthorn, birches, black oak, and serviceberry.
© Ilex – Midwestern Plants