Adelpha bredowii
California Sister

Family Description:
Note: This species is referred to with the genus name Limenitis by some authors.

Caterpillar: The caterpillar can reach a maximum length of 1 inches, and may appear humpbacked. It can be one of two forms: either greenish on top and brownish underneath, or yellow-orange on top and tan underneath. Both forms have four to six pairs of spines or tubercles on their upper surface.
Adult: This is a large butterfly, with a wingspan of 2 to 4 inches. The upperside is dark brown with a large orange spot on the outer tip of the forewing. A whitish stripe runs diagonally across the fore- and hindwings, from the orange spot to the abdomen. Underneath, the wings look like stained glass, with patches of dark brown, beige, light blue, and light orange.

This species can be found in the southwestern quarter of the U.S. and in Mexico, and rarely in the intermountain west. It has been documented in Idaho only in Bannock County. As the host plant for the caterpillar is oak (Quercus spp.), a non-native genus in Idaho found only where cultivated, this is a highly unlikely species to find in our area.

This species can be found in moist, low areas with oaks (Quercus spp.) and conifers.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of oak (Quercus spp.).
Adult: Butterflies use fruit, flower nectar, and aphid honeydew for food.

Caterpillars use silk and their own dung pellets to build a rest that hangs from leaves. Typically there are two generations each summer, the second of which overwinters in a physiological state called diapause and then pupates in the spring. In desert mountain habitats there may be only one generation of caterpillars in the summer which then overwinters before pupating. Adults generally fly from April through September, and often perch on the tips of branches in the sun.

Males seek receptive females by perching or actively patrolling throughout the day. Females lay one egg per leaf on host plants and position it near the leaf’s edge.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5; population levels are secure, but may be of concern in the future.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.   Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.