Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Seems Chicago is not the only place experiencing the current Red Admiral largess.

Wisconsin butterflies

Red Admiral western New York

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) do not survive northern harsh winters so only fly once a season in the north then migrate south where they can have two or three broods a year then over winter in larval stage.

The larval hosts are in the Nettle family, Urticaceae, Stinging Nettles (Urtica holosericea and U. urens) Baby's Tears (Helxine or Soleirolia) and Pellitory (Parietaria).

The larva is solitary, in a host plant rolled-leaf shelter. I saw a picture of the rolled leaf that the larva live and eat inside of on some butterfly site but can not now find it. I will be watching stinging nettles in my garden and on hikes to see if I can find a feeding larva of the Red admiral.

Google images of host plant...

stinging nettle

Baby's tears



Blogger firefly said...

These butterflies are all over my yard -- we let the privet hedge on both sides flower every year, and they've been feasting on it for weeks. They also like the Buddleia 'Adonis Blue' (which is a big relief, since not much else visits these cultivars).

The two stands of Joe Pye I planted last fall aren't quite blooming yet, but I hope they'll hang around to feed off these too.

I've so far mistakenly identified these butterflies as Baltimore checkerspots and Painted Ladies (some of the photos on Bugguide.net are misidentified), but I found a great site, Butterflies and Moths of North America http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/ that has galleries of photos for ID purposes.

25/7/07 12:02 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I'm seeing a lot of Red Admirals here too. Before this year, I think I had only ever seen one in our northern Virginia garden. Last weekend they were "puddling" on the gravel driveway in central Virginia.

3/8/07 6:41 AM  

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