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  • Red Admiral Butterfly - (Vanessa atalanta)

    Red Admiral Butterfly - (Vanessa atalanta)

    Strong migration habits ensure the Red Admiral reaches across all three countries on the North American continent, making it easy to run into.


    Staff Writer (10/7/2016): Red Admirals are hard to miss and easy to identify thanks to their size and distinctive color and patterns. It can be found yearlong in warmer states and in Mexico, but only in the summer months in the north. These migrants can produce one or two broods during their time up north. The cold winters kill off any that remain. Adults in warm regions hibernate through the winter. Large populations migrate north again the next year, especially in the eastern half of the continent, enabling the species to return every year. In desert regions, the butterflies start to move up the mesas and mountains at the beginning of Spring's warm-up.

    Adults can be found in virtually any habitat, ranging from rural to urban, subtropcis to tundra. They prefer to drink sap from trees, liquid from rotting fruit and bird droppings. They will drink nectar from milkweed, clover, aster and alfalfa flowers if their preferred foods are not available. Males are active in the mid-afternoon to evening, looking for females. They dart out at approaching objects, quick to defend their territories from any living creature. Females lay a single fertilized egg on a leaf of the larval host plants. Caterpillars eat the leaves of nettles, false nettles, mamaki, pellitories from the aster family and other related plants. Once caterpillars hatch, they form a retreat of folded leaves and silk. The caterpillars are black, developing white, or light yellow, speckles all over the body. Several black, branched spines radiate from each segment; these spines may be white closer to the rear of the larva. There are seven yellow bands, bent into the shape of upside-down 'V's, that mark each segment along the sides from head to rear.

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    Details of the:
    Red Admiral Butterfly


    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Red Admiral Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Vanessa atalanta

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Vanessa
            Species: atalanta





    Size (Adult, Length): 40mm to 75mm (1.57in to 2.95in)

    Identifying Colors: red, black, white, orange, white, brown

    Additional Descriptors: flying, helpful, fast, erratic


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.





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