Foto: Stanisław Stręk
Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi)
It is one of the largest diurnal butterflies – the wingspan in females exceeds 10 cm. It lives in wet, marshy forests and riverside parks. The dark coloration of the body and wings enables it to camouflage in the darkness of the forest. On the top the wings are black-brownish, speckled with white and orange spots, on the bottom – orange. The poplar admiral does not belong to butterflies attracted to flowers. Preferably it searches for fruit juices, “decomposing” cheese or horse manure. It’s hard to spot it because it usually stays high up in the treetops. The development of the butterfly is complete. From eggs brownish-green caterpillars hatch that are monophagous. This means that they spend their entire lives on one species of trees – aspen poplar, where they eat fresh buds and leaves. The mature caterpillar builds a hanging, yellow-brown cocoon in which the metamorphosis into the butterfly takes place. In recent years the population of the poplar admiral has decreased dramatically. The cause of the disaster is the spring felling of young, roadside poplars on which caterpillars winter. To prevent similar situations such activities in the forest should be carried out at a more convenient time.