red admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
SUBFAMILY: True Brushfoots (Nymphalinae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upperside is black with white spots near the apex;
forewing with red median band, hindwing with red marginal band. The
winter form is smaller and duller, summer form larger and brighter with
an interrupted forewing band.
LIFE HISTORY: The Red Admiral has a very erratic, rapid flight. Males
perch, on ridgetops if available, in the afternoon to wait for females, who
lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Young caterpillars eat and
live within a shelter of folded leaves; older caterpillars make a nest of
leaves tied together with silk. Adults hibernate.
FLIGHT: Two broods from March-October in the north, winters from
October-March in South Texas.
WING SPAN: 1 3/4 - 3 inches (4.5 - 7.6 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Plants of the nettle family (Urticaceae) including
stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), tall wild nettle (Urtica gracilis), wood nettle
(Laportea canadensis), false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), pellitory
(Parietoria pennsylvanica), mamaki (Pipturus albidus), and possibly
ADULT FOOD: Red Admirals prefer sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit,
and bird droppings; visiting flowers only when these are not available.
Then they will nectar at common milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa,
HABITAT: Moist woods, yards, parks, marshes, seeps, moist fields. During
migrations, the Red Admiral is found in almost any habitat from tundra to
RANGE: Guatemala north through Mexico and the United States to
northern Canada; Hawaii, some Caribbean Islands, New Zealand, Europe,
Northern Africa, Asia. Cannot survive coldest winters; most of North
America must be recolonized each spring by southern migrants.
CONSERVATION: Not required.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley