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Thursday, 25 July 2019

The red admmiral

Vanessa atalanta, the red admiral or previously, the red admirable, is a well-characterized, medium-sized butterfly with black wings, orange bands, and white spots. It has a wingspan of about 2 inches (5 cm). It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae. The red admiral is widely distributed across temperate regions of North Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. It resides in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring and sometimes again in autumn. Typically found in moist woodlands, the red admiral caterpillar's primary host plant is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica); it can also be found on the false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica). The adult butterfly drinks from flowering plants like Buddleia and overripe fruit. Red admirals are territorial; females will only mate with males that hold territory. Males with superior flight abilities are more likely to successfully court females. It is known as an unusually people-friendly butterfly, often landing on and using humans as perches. Mating usually occurs in late fall or early winter following collective migration to southern regions with a warmer climate. The red admiral's main host plant, stinging nettle, is most abundant during this migration. Larval development proceeds through winter and adults are first sighted in early spring. The new generation of adults migrates north before mating, because food is usually diminished by late spring. During migration, the red admiral flies at high altitudes where high-speed winds carry the butterfly, requiring less energy.

 

(latin: Vanessa atalanta )

Thursday, 25 July 2019