Red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis subsp. astyanax), Newark DE. September 2017.
An unmistakably beautiful butterfly that is common in the eastern US (a different morph becomes more apparent the more north you travel), the red-spotted purple bears similar colors to another common butterfly, the pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Many species seem to mimic the swallowtail in an attempt to advertise that they are poisonous or distasteful to birds. However, the red-spotted purple isn’t poisonous at all.
Caterpillars of the red-spotted purple resemble bird droppings (a good way to avoid being eaten) and feed on many different deciduous trees: beech, birch, cherry, oak, poplar, and willow, just to name a few. Adults take nectar from flowers, but are also attracted to fermenting fruit, as was the case with this individual taking to the fallen apples.
Multiple generations in the Mid-Atlantic (at least two broods), with adults by early summer and into September.