Everything About Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Red Admiral, common name for a large, strong-flying butterfly.. The distribution of the red admiral extends from Europe to North Africa and northern India and from Canada through the United States to Central America. The tops of the wings are black with distinctive red bands and white spots. Two metallic blue spots are on each hindwing. On the underside the forewings are similarly patterned but the hindwings are richly patterned in various shades of brown. The female and male share the same patterning and have wingspans of about 5.5 to 6 cm (about 2 to 2.5 in).

The European breeding center of the red admiral is in the Mediterranean region and each year migrants move northwards into central and northern Europe, including the British Isles. Butterflies arriving in Britain in the spring lay eggs on the tips of stinging nettle leaves. The eggs develop into black, spiny caterpillars that live within individual tents, which they construct by spinning together the edges of a nettle leaf with silk. They also feed on nettle leaves. After about four weeks the caterpillars pupate (encase themselves in the cocoons of silk) among the nettle leaves and butterflies emerge about two weeks later. In southern Europe the butterflies are known to hibernate, but few survive winter in the British Isles and they are replaced by a new wave of migrants the following spring.

Red admirals live in a wide range of habitats, but are most frequently found in wooded countryside, parks, and gardens. The adult butterflies feed at the flowers of many nectar-bearing plants, particularly buddleia, and in the autumn are also attracted to the juices of rotting fruit.

Scientific classification: The red admiral butterfly belongs to the family, Nymphalidae. It is classified as Vanessa atalanta.

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