Red Admiral Butterfly: Facts and Information — Primary Facts

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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Interesting Facts about Red Admiral Butterflies

When God created the earth, He made sure that everything was perfect. He made us into His image and likeness, and he also created all the animals and creatures wonderfully and simply breathtaking. And this includes the beautiful butterflies. Butterflies are without a doubt one of my favorite creatures here on earth. Their life cycle is also very interesting. Known to many, these insects did not start living as attractive creatures. All butterflies start as caterpillars before it metamorphose into one. And to think, caterpillars are considered one of the least favorite creatures of many people. Nevertheless, the life cycle of this particular insect is a good example to the saying that “first impressions do not last”.

These days, there are already thousands of different species of butterflies all over the world. Some of them are small while others are as big as our palms. One notable type of butterfly is none other than the red admiral. So what are the different facts about red admiral butterflies? The red admiral or Vanessa atalanta is a type of butterfly that is commonly seen in Asia, North America and some parts of Europe. This colorful butterfly can grow each of its wings at a span of 2 to 2.5 inches or approximately 50 to 60 mm. The red admirals are known warm-climate lovers. They only migrate north if the season is spring. This butterfly also has a very interesting and attractive wing pattern and color. Most admirals exhibit a dark brown, red and black color. It usually has orange bands and white spots near the front margin making it look more eye-catching. Its body and wings are also velvety in texture which means they are covered with small hair follicles. Distinguishing males from females is quite difficult since there are really no known and distinct characteristics that separate the two.

When admirals are still on its caterpillar form, it usually feeds on nettles, but as it transforms into a butterfly, it consumes nectars from flowers as well as the juice of overripe fruits including apples and mangoes. The admirals are also territorial creatures, which mean they stay in a particular place and guard it as their own. As a caterpillar, the red admiral is also dark brown in color and is also spiky looking. Most of them hide under tree leaves and plants, but as it starts to metamorphose, it usually hides somewhere else that is safe and distant from other creatures.

In summary, the red admirals are indeed one of the most marvelous creatures here on earth. They just don’t help plants pollinate, but they also make the whole environment look extraordinarily stunning.

Common UK butterfly identification and facts

Identify some of the UK’s most common butterflies, find out where to look for them, and learn more about their incredible lives with our simple guide.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The brimstone butterfly is a striking sight.

Credit: Tony Cox / WTML

Brimstones live for a whole year. They hibernate in plant cover such as ivy, where their scalloped, veined wings closely resemble leaves, providing excellent camouflage.


The male brimstone is the only large, lemon-yellow butterfly in the UK, so is unmistakeable. The female is cream-coloured and can be confused with other butterflies such as the large white, although the brimstone has no black on its wings.

Where to find it

Occurs across England and Wales, but scarce in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Brimstone caterpillars feed on the leaves of buckthorn and alder buckthorn. The butterflies are particularly drawn to purple flowers such as thistles.

Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria)

The speckled wood butterfly is often found in woodland.

Credit: Bryan Wenham-Baker / Alamy Stock Photo

Male speckled woods often perch in small pools of sunlight, waiting to intercept passing females. If they spot a rival male instead, spectacular aerial fights ensue, with the males spiralling upwards, each trying to get above the other.


Dark brown wings liberally speckled with cream dots. The wings fade and become ragged with age – the year’s first brood of speckled woods only lives for a few weeks before giving rise to the next generation.

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Where to find it

This butterfly has spread northwards in recent decades to colonise East Anglia, the Midlands and almost all of northern England in response to climate change.


Caterpillars feed on grasses such as Yorkshire-fog. The adult butterflies don’t usually visit flowers, feeding instead from ‘honeydew’ – sweet secretions left on leaves by aphids.

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

The comma butterfly has scalloped wings.

Credit: Tony Cox / WTML

The butterfly has a flexible life cycle enabling it to make the best of the vagaries of the UK climate. Depending on the weather, some spring and early summer caterpillars develop into butterflies that go straight into hibernation. Others become adults that breed straight away and give rise to a new generation in the autumn.


The orange and brown wings of the comma are deeply scalloped to give an almost ragged appearance. On the underside of the hindwing, visible if the butterfly has its wings closed, is a small silvery comma-shaped marking.

Where to find it

At one time restricted to the south, this butterfly has colonised huge areas of the UK over the past 50 years and now breeds right up to central Scotland. A few have even crossed the sea to start to colonise Ireland.


Comma caterpillars, which are camouflaged to resemble bird droppings, feed on a range of plants including nettle, hop and elm. The butterflies feed from flowers and also fallen fruit.

Holly blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Holly blues often feed on hogweed.

Credit: Ian Redding / Alamy Stock Photo


The holly blue, which was once known as the azure blue, can be distinguished from the widespread common blue by the lack of any orange dots on the undersides of the wings.

Where to find it

Widespread in the south and spreading northwards. Has recently colonised the Edinburgh area. Less widespread in Northern Ireland, where it is mainly found in the east. It is the most common blue butterfly found in UK woodlands and gardens.


Caterpillars feed mainly on the flower buds and berries of holly, ivy, spindle and dogwood. The adult butterflies feed on aphid ‘honeydew’.

Holly blue populations go through regular cycles of boom and bust, caused by a parasitic wasp. The wasp’s young develop inside the butterfly’s caterpillars and pupae, ultimately causing their death. When holly blue caterpillars are abundant, the wasp thrives and kills so many that the population of the butterfly is driven down. However, once at low levels, the wasps find it difficult to locate caterpillars and so its population declines, allowing the butterfly to increase once again.

Peacock (Aglais io)

Peacock butterflies are commonly seen on buddleia.

Credit: John Keates / Alamy Stock Photo

The peacock butterfly can scare off predators such as birds by suddenly flicking its wings open to reveal the large ‘eye-spot’ markings. It can also make a hissing sound that may help to deter mammal predators, such as mice and bats, particularly during the butterfly’s long hibernation.


The peacock butterfly has reddish–purple wings with large, dramatic eye-spot patterns.

Where to find it

Throughout the UK, although a recent colonist in the far north of Scotland.


Peacock caterpillars live in large groups on nettles. The adult butterflies visit flowers and are common garden visitors to plants such as buddleia in late summer, when they are building up their fat reserves for hibernation.

Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The red admiral is black with red fringes.

Credit: Colin Varndell / Alamy Stock Photo

The black and spiny red admiral caterpillars create protective tents for themselves by folding nettle leaves together, emerging to feed on other leaves.


Black with red fringes to the hindwings, red stripes across the forewings, and white markings towards the wing tips.

Where to find it

Widespread across the UK, particularly in gardens. Most red admirals migrate to the UK in summer from central Europe.


Caterpillars feed on nettles. Adult red admirals feed from flowers such as buddleia, bramble and ivy, as well as on the juices of fallen fruit. Their proboscis comes in handy for this – while it may look like a straw, it’s actually made up of two tubes which lock together to form the feeding tube. With a diet of nectar and sticky fruit, it’s useful to have mouthparts that can be split into two for easy access to clean up.

Red Admiral: Facts, Characteristics, Habitat and More

Scientific Classification of Red Admiral: Vanessa Atlanta

Kingdom of Red Admiral: Animalia

Phylum of Red Admiral: Arthopoda

Class of Red Admiral: nsecta

Order of Red Admiral: Lepidoptera

Family of Red Admiral: Nymphalidae

Genus of Red Admiral: Vanessa

Species of Red Admiral: V.atlanta

Pictures of Red Admiral

Take a look at some of the exciting pictures of these species!

Some Interesting Facts about Red Admiral

These species are no doubt very beautiful and attractive.

  • These butterflies have breathtaking velvety black colored wings coupled by a red band to go through it..
  • These are candid butterflies.

Range of Red Admiral

These species prefer to dwell in warmer parts of Mexico, USA, North Canada, Newfoundland, Churchill, Hawaii, Newzealand, and Europe and Northern regions of Asia, Africa.

Characteristics of Red Admiral

  • These species are of moderate size with velvety wings with a red band cutting across.
  • There is a red border present right at the end of the butterfly wings.
  • The color of the band ranges from dark red to orangish red.
  • The frontal wings are dotted with white blotches.
  • The color of the back wings is generally grey to green.
  • One could find that the color of their caterpillar is greenish grey to black in color with stripes in yellow.

Behavior of Red Admiral

  • These motley-colored butterflies fly during both during the day as well as the night.
  • The males defend and fight for the protection of the females.
  • These species like to remain within houses.
  • They are often found unafraid of human beings and calmly sit on them.

Food Habits of Red Admiral

These species like to feed on fermenting fruits, sap of the trees and almost anything dropping from the tree. In addition to this, they like to have flowers, milkweed, flower weed and aster in their diet.

Habitats of Red Admiral

They are territorial in nature. One could spot these species mainly in the forests, mountains towns, gardens, marshes, parks or seashores.

Breeding of Red Admiral

In case of these species, the males tend to be territorial. They usually prefer a sunlit area to carry out the process. However, if they spot any male counterpart in the vicinity, then both of the same genders get competitive and fight against each other.

Life Cycle of Red Admiral

  • Initially these species lays the egg on the plant like nettle.
  • Their eggs are usually small so much so that it is smaller than even 1 mm. It just takes about one week for the eggs to hatch.
  • Next important step in the cycle of the butterfly is the larvae. In the initial stages, the red admiral larvae are light green in color but as the larvae begin to develop they get darker. With time, the larvae form a tent on the leaves. Depending upon the temperature, the end stage persists for 2 – 3 weeks. The full-grown larvae shall be generally spotted in black color.
  • The developing stage however shows a variety of colors ranging from greenish brown to yellowish green.
  • The last stage depicts the development of pupa. In order to disguise the pupa, these develop some metallic spots on their body.
  • Finally, the stage comes when the butterfly comes out of the pupa and it lasts for about 2 hours. Their wings remain dry initially.

Host Plant of Red Admiral

  • They thrive on any types of nettle but are usually found to feed on Common Nettles. In addition to this, these nettles provide fortification from predators.

Predators of Red Admiral

  • Large insects
  • Spiders
  • Wasps
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Large insects

Migration of Red Admiral

These species are found almost everywhere. They mostly hibernate during wintertime. The species inhabiting the northern portion have originally migrated from the southern regions.

Life Span of Red Admiral

During the winter, these species live for about 9 months. However in the summer, these species live for about 4 – 6 months.

Conservation Status of Red Admiral

These species are not in the list of those endangered.

Significance of Red Admiral

The red admiral symbolizes souls or spirits. However, some traditional cultures have elaborated it as transformation of soul or resurrection. The lifespan of these species is very small.

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30 Beautiful Facts About Butterflies

Ahh, butterflies… Whether they’re in the pit of our stomachs, floating over lush pastures or as stickers on a colorful notebook, butterflies are beautiful creatures.

They bring feelings of joy & happiness bringing us back to our childhood memories

But could there be more than meets the eye about these wonderful creatures?

Well there is actually, and in this article, we’re going to look at 30 interesting facts about butterflies you probably never heard about!

There are over 17,500 recorded butterfly species in the whole world. Out of this number, 750 can be found in America.

Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera class of insects which are characterized by their large scaly wings.

The Cabbage White specie of butterfly is the most commonly found in the US. While they are called Cabbage White, they are characterized by their two black markings at the top of their wings.

Monarch butterflies migrate to escape from the cold, not to procreate contrarily to popular belief.

Monarch butterflies are the only insect in the whole world that travels over 2,500 miles on average every winter.

However, while the Monarch is the only butterfly to cover this wide a distance, many butterfly species flee weather conditions in the winter, such as the Clouded Skipper, Red Admiral, Cloudless Sulfur and American Lady just to name a few.

The North American Monarch is one of the species that has been the most severely impacted by recent climate changes, with their numbers seeing dips and spikes over the last few years.

Butterflies don’t taste with taste buds, but rather sensors located under their feet.

A group of butterflies is known as a flutter.

Butterflies can see beyond the ultraviolet spectrum and their eyes consist of a network of 6000 lenses.

Did you know that many adult butterflies do not excrete waste at all? As a matter of fact, many adult butterflies use everything they eat as energy.

Contrarily to popular perception, the wings of butterflies are totally clear and the colors we see are the effect of light reflecting on the tiny scales covering them.

The wings of butterflies move in a figure 8 motion.

Butterflies can vary greatly in size. The biggest butterfly specie has a 12 inch wingspan, while the smallest ever recorded only covers half an inch.

Some butterflies can be very picky about where they lay their eggs. As a matter of fact, some butterflies will only lay their eggs in one type of plant.

The first thing a caterpillar eats after it hatches from its cocoon is usually the shell of the cocoon itself.

In some places, you can find so many caterpillars feeding on plants that you can actually hear them munching.

The time it takes a caterpillar to evolve into a butterfly is usually between 10 and 15 days depending on the particular specie.

Butterflies are cold blooded creatures for the most part.

Some butterfly species are extremely fast. As a matter of fact, the Skipper Butterfly can fly faster than a horse can run.

Butterflies have long tongues that are shaped like tubes that gives them the ability to soak up food instead of sipping it.

Male butterflies engage in what is called “puddling”. In fact, many male butterflies get nourishment by drinking water from mud puddles, which allows them to extract much needed minerals.

A group of butterflies puddling together is referred to as a “puddle club”.

Some species of butterflies drink blood coming from open wounds of other animals.

Many scientists thought butterflies were completely deaf until they first identified butterfly ears in 2012.

The Common Buckeye Butterfly is considered as one of the most striking species of butterflies with its wide upper wing bars and big, multicolored eyespots.

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly is one of the biggest butterfly species on the planet, with wings spanning from 4 to 7 inches.

The adult butterfly only lives 3 to 4 weeks in average.

Many butterfly species are polymorphic and have the ability to blend in with their surrounding environment.

Butterflies cannot fly if the air temperature falls under 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Since butterflies are cold blooded animals, they cannot regulate their body temperature, which renders them completely immobile in cold weather.

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So there you have it, 30 great facts about butterflies!

Next time you see a larvae munching on leaves, or see them floating around your yard, remember that these little flying flowers are much more than just mere insects.

You’ll now be able to appreciate them for what they truly are, tiny little miracles of nature.

Butterflies don’t taste with taste buds, but rather sensors located under their feet.

Interesting facts about butterflies

Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large, often brightly colored wings.

There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world.

On average, an adult butterfly lives about a month. However, the time can vary greatly between species, and females tend to live longer than males. It’s extremely unusual for a butterfly of any species to live longer than a year.

Butterflies can be found all over the world! In fact, they live on every continent except Antarctica.

Butterflies live in different habitats, including mangroves, salt marshes, lowland forests, sand dunes, wetlands, mountainous regions and grasslands.

Like all insects, they have a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes and one pair of antennae.

A butterfly has four wings, two forewings and two hindwings. Both sets of wings attach to the midsection, or thorax, of the butterfly.

Butterfly wings are actually clear — the colors and patterns we see are made by the reflection of the tiny scales covering them.

The color of a butterfly can be for protection. The big spots on an owl butterfly look like the eyes of a much larger animal, so a predator like a bird may think twice about attacking. Other butterflies are camouflaged to blend into their environment, and some are brightly colored to warn that they are poisonous.

Butterflies vary in size.

The world’s largest butterfly is the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. It has a wingspan of 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) and is native to Papua New Guinea.

The world’s smallest butterfly is the Western Pygmy Blue. It has a wingspan of 12 milimeters (0.5 inch) and is native to the western U.S.

Butterflies are primarily diurnal, flying in the daytime.

At night, or during inclement weather, most butterflies perch on the underside of a leaf, crawl deep between blades of grass or into a crevice in rocks, or find some other shelter, and sleep.

Butterflies are cold-blooded, meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature. As a result, their body temperature changes with the temperature of their surroundings.

Butterflies are mostly solitary creatures. However, some species migrate in massive numbers.

Monarch butterflies are famous for their yearly migration, traveling up to 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) in 2 months to get from Canada and the northern U.S. to Mexico for the winter.

The fastest butterflies are the skippers, which can fly at 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour) , but most butterflies fly at 8 to 20 kilometers per hour (5 to 12 miles per hour). A few species can fly at great heights, as much as 3,000 meters (10,000 feet).

Butterflies can’t hear, but they can feel vibrations.

Setae (sensory hairs) on the insect’s entire body (including the antennae) can feel the environment. They also give the insect information about the wind while it is flying.

A butterfly uses its feet and antennae to smell/taste. When it lands on a flower, its feet detect the smell/taste of the substances in the plant and decide if they’re suitable food, or not.

Butterflies don’t have noses and lungs as we do. Adult butterflies, as well as caterpillars, breathe through a series of tiny openings along the sides of their bodies, called “spiracles.” From each spiracle, a tube called a “trachea” carries oxygen into the body.

Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow, but they also see color in the ultraviolet range, which reveals patterns on flowers—and other butterflies—that we can’t see.

Most fully grown butterflies extract and eat nectar from flowers by using their tongue as a straw, while a smaller minority of butterflies consume tree sap, rotting animal matter, and other organic material. The larvae of butterflies, called caterpillars, feed voraciously on plant material, especially leaves.

Butterflies change four times during their lives in a process which is called metamorphosis.
Egg – A butterfly starts its life as an egg, often laid on a leaf.
Larva – The larva (caterpillar) hatches from an egg and eats leaves or flowers almost constantly. The caterpillar molts (loses its old skin) many times as it grows. The caterpillar will increase up to several thousand times in size before pupating.
Pupa – It turns into a pupa (chrysalis); this is a resting stage.
Adult – A beautiful, flying adult emerges. This adult will continue the cycle.

In areas where temperatures drop below freezing during part of the winter, at least one stage in a butterfly species’ life cycle must be resistant to freezing if the species is resident. Most butterflies that live in cold climates spend the winter as caterpillars, while almost as many spend the winter as pupas. A few species, mainly tortoiseshells (Nymphalis) and anglewings (Polygonia), spend the winter as adults, hibernating in holes in trees, in crevices in man-made structures, or in other shelters. A very few species spend the winter as eggs.

Some butterflies, especially in the tropics, have several generations in a year, while others have a single generation, and a few in cold locations may take several years to pass through their whole life cycle.

Some of the common predators of butterflies include wasps, ants, parasitic flies, birds, snakes, toads, rats, lizards, dragonflies and even monkeys! A few of the other animals that are constantly adding butterflies onto their menu list are frogs and spiders.

The largest threat to butterflies is loss of habitat.

Butterflies have intrigued and been of one of natures wonders due to their gentle nature and bright colors.

Butterflies have appeared in art from 3500 years ago in ancient Egypt.

In the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, the brilliantly coloured image of the butterfly was carved into many temples, buildings, jewellery, and emblazoned on incense burners.

Butterflies are widely used in objects of art and jewellery: mounted in frames, embedded in resin, displayed in bottles, laminated in paper, and used in some mixed media artworks and furnishings.

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