Red Admiral Butterfly: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the red admiral butterfly.

  • The red admiral butterfly is a common species of butterfly which is found in warmer areas of Europe, North America and Asia.
  • Its scientific name is Vanessa atalanta.

  • Red admiral butterflies can also be found in New Zealand, where the species was introduced.
  • They often don’t survive cold winters, and migrate to areas where it is warmer.The wings of the red admiral butterfly have distinctive red, black and dark brown colours, as well as orange stripes.
  • The species has a wing span of up to 8 cm.
  • Red Admiral caterpillars feed on nettles, while the adult butterflies eat tree sap, bird droppings and fermenting fruit.
  • They feed from flowers when other food is not available.
  • They often prefer to live in a small area, so that their chances of finding a mate are better.
  • After mating, the female lays her eggs on the upper portions of leaves.
  • The eggs are tiny, usually less than 1 mm across.
  • Once fully grown, the species lives for up to 6 months during the summer, and up to 9 months during the winter.
  • They thrive in several different types of environment, including mountains, forests, woods, marsh and seashore. They can be found in cities and even in homes, attracted by the warmth.
  • Red admirals are quite people friendly, and they will often perch on heads, arms or shoulders. Some farmers don’t like them because the caterpillars can eat hops and other crops.
  • Red admiral butterflies fly at night as well as during the day. Their natural enemies include many species of birds, bats, wasps, spiders and large insects.

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