VANESSA atalanta

Red Admiral




Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Subclass: Pterygota (Winged Insects)
Order: Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Sub-Order: Rhopalocera (Butterflies)
Family: Nymphalidae (Fritillaries)
Genus: Vanessa
Species: atalanta
Vanessa atalanta

The Red Admiral is one of the larger and more colourful of the British butterflies. It is not native, but migrates from southern Europe in the spring, so it is a strong flier. It is frequently found in gardens, and is obligingly fond of Buddleja, Butterfly Bush. The wings are black with red and white bands on the forewing, and a red band with black dots on the hind wing. There are blue and white blotches on the tip of the forewing, blue dots on the edge of the underwing, and a scalloped white edging to the wings.

Food plants of the Red Admiral butterfly include Teasel, Clover and Scabious.

The caterpillar is fat and spiny, blackish or greyish green, with yellow spots on the side. The food plant is stinging nettle.

The Red Admiral is far less conspicuous when it rests than when in flight. The underside of the lower wings is speckled in browns and greys, rather like the bark of a tree, and the colours of the upper wing are less bright and partly hidden when the wings are folded.

Back to Butterflies Main Page