Red admirable

Red admiral
Red admiral

DSC_0925 Red Admiral

The red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) was known as the red admirable until the 18th century due to its striking appearance – black wings edged in red bands.

This butterfly is primarily a migrant to the UK, every spring the butterflies return first from the Mediterranean and then from central Europe.  Some red admirals overwinter in milder areas of the UK.  Numbers of these butterflies vary from year to year according to harshness of winter and the success of the migration.

The caterpillars feed on nettles and the adults benefit from nectar of late-flowering ivy.

The underside of the wings provides good camouflage, as can be seen in this picture of a red admiral resting in the ashes of the camp fire.

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