Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Summary 6

The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is a well-known colourful butterfly, found in temperate Europe, Asia and North America. The Red Admiral has a 45–50 mm (1.8–2.0 in) wing span. The species is resident only in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring, and sometimes again in autumn.

Description 7

The red admiral is a familiar butterfly, and is easy to identify thanks to its striking patterning; the black forewings feature prominent red bars and white spots. The undersides of the hind wings are delicately patterned with brown and black, which provides excellent camouflage when this butterfly is roosting on tree trunks.

Larva Description 8

The larva grows to 3.5 cm in length, and occurs in a number of forms of varying colour. Dark forms are greyish-black, and have black spines and yellow patches along each side. Various pale forms also occur; they are either green or yellowish with pale spines and black markings (3).

Larval host plant 9

Larval host plants include nettles from the genus Urtica, pellitory from the genus Parietaria, and hops from the genus Humulus.

GTM Occurrence 10

The Red Admiral is considered uncommon at the GTM. Most observations are in the open habitat along Transect A. Only single observations have been made along the forest Transects B-D. This species occurs from March to May and September and October with peak abundance in April. The first record of the Red Admiral at the GTM was March 28, 2011. There have been 16 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 11

The range of Red Admirals extends around the Northern Hemisphere, from northern Canada to Guatemala in the western hemisphere, and from Scandinavia and northern Russia south to North Africa and China in the east. It is established on Bermuda, the Azores, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, and the Hawaiian islands in the Pacific. It has been introduced to and breeds in New Zealand as well.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); neotropical (Native ); oceanic islands (Introduced , Native )

Other Geographic Terms: holarctic

Habitat 12

Red Admirals tend to be found in moist environments such as marshes, woods, fields, and well-watered gardens. These butterflies cannot stand extreme winter cold and are forced to migrate southward during the winter months to warmer climates. During this migration they can be found in habitats ranging from subtropics to tundras. The caterpillars of this species live on the plants they feed on (see Food Habits below).

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest

Wetlands: marsh

Other Habitat Features: suburban

Comments: Breeding habitat is virtually any patch of nettles, false nettles etc. in North America or much of Europe. Adults are migratory and occur in almost any habitat. They prefer somewhat wooded or shaded backyard situations. Overwintering habitats may be more specific but information is limited.

Nature serve conservation status 13

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread, "weedy", holarctic species.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) rpayne72, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Ron Payne, http://www.flickr.com/photos/60611812@N05/7087842245
  2. (c) Drriss & Marrionn, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/drriss/7683157626/
  3. (c) Robert Pittman, some rights reserved (CC BY-ND), https://www.flickr.com/photos/50144889@N08/14818780592/
  4. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/2855295
  5. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve, http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/2855296
  6. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_atalanta
  7. (c) Wildscreen, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/2617048
  8. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wildscreen, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/2617048
  9. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/31429254
  10. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  11. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/31429250
  12. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/31429251
  13. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28742272

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