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Vanessa atalanta Wildlife Red Admiral


Spring to Autumn

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This butterfly is distinctive and may be found throughout Great Britain. It has a 45–50 mm (1.8–2.0 in) wing span. Each spring and summer there are northward migrations from continental Europe and North Africa. The females lay eggs especially on nettles and there is an emergence of fresh butterflies, from about July onwards. They lay single eggs on the growing tips of nettles. After a week or so, the caterpillars hatch and each spins a tent around itself by fastening a young leaf double with silk. About four weeks later caterpillars pupate in a similar ‘tent’. They continue flying into October or November and are typically seen collecting nectar from many flowers in the garden. They have been reported to over winter in southern Britain, where it hibernates and re-emerge in the Spring with darker colourings.

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