Santa Barbara Field Guides – Butterflies|
wingspread 2.25-4 in.|
Recognition: Upperside is dark brown/ black with a diagonal and broken white band down wings; orange patch at FW tip does not touch the outer edge (unlike the similar Lorquin's Admiral); underside is a distinctive pattern of orange, blue, and white bands.
Flight period: Active from May through October and can be quite abundant in certain locales even near the end of its flight period.
Hostplants: The larvae feed on oaks (Quercus) such as coast live oak (Q. agrifolia) and canyon live oak (Q. chrysolepis). Adults take fluid from fallen fruit and do not usually nectar.
Habitat: Oak woodland, foothill and montane riparian areas; they can be found in abundance around their oak hostplants, but are also fond of moist areas.
Distribution: Ranges through much of the southwest, excluding desert areas. Found around Santa Barbara County, especially in the Santa Ynez mountains. Look for them in the warmer parts of the mountains, flying around oaks.
Other: The species' common name comes from the similarity of its black and white coloring to a nun's clothing.