Red Admiral Butterfly

COMMON NAME — Red Admiral
SCIENTIFIC NAME — Vanessa atalanta
FAMILY — Nymphalidae
ORDER — Lepidoptera


Red Admiral Butterfly perched on the ground. 12 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on the ground. 12 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

The Red Admiral has an orange and black design like many other Vanessas. This one is perched on the ground. You can see the proboscis extending a bit from the neck, but still in the curled position.


 

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a Post Oak tree trunk. 21 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a Post Oak tree trunk. 21 Apr 2012.

This one is perched on the trunk of a Post Oak tree. You can see a bit of the ventral (bottom) side of its left wing. You can also see its proboscis curled under the neck.


 

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a Post Oak tree leaf. 21 Apr 2012.

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a Post Oak tree leaf. 21 Apr 2012.

It flew from the trunk to a leaf on the same tree. This time the proboscis is extended.


Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a small tree. 6 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

Red Admiral Butterfly perched on a small tree. 6 Apr 2012. Click to enlarge.

Here is a Red Admiral on another type of tree, or it may just be a heavy woody stalk. A good view of the ventral side of the wing. Notice the bright blue and pink on the fore wing, and the intricate design on the hind wing in more muted colors and tones. The proboscis is extended to the wood.


Identification Sources:

– Google Image search for “Texas Butterflies
– Wikipedia’s Red Admiral page


A few details from Wikipedia’s and the ButterfliesandMoths.org’s Red Admiral pages:

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.

Habitat Moist woods, yards, parks, marshes, seeps, moist fields. During migrations, the Red Admiral is found in almost any habitat from tundra to subtropics.

Diet The butterflies 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, among others.
The caterpillars prefer plants from the nettle family and some miscellaneous others.

Interesting Notes This is the butterfly featured in the novel, Pale Fire, written by Vladimir Nabokov, an amateur lepidopterist.
The species name “Atalanta” comes from Greek mythology, a strong yet feminine woman who faced obstacles and backlash for refusing to follow gender norms.


Related Links on this site:

– All Butterfly Posts
– Butterflies Moths Index


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