Wildlife: Red admirals in Lithuania

by Arūnas
Wildlife: Red Admirals in Lithuania
Among all the variety of butterfly species that exist in Lithuania, the red admiral stands out for its extraordinary beauty. The species is a migratory butterfly in the country. The Lithuanians call it “admirolas”.

The red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) was first described by the Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. The Latin specific epithet for the butterfly is taken from Greek mythology, where Atalanta, the heroine of the Calydonian boar hunt, ran faster than any man on Earth. The species’ status on the Red List IUCN: Least Concern.

It is easy to recognize the butterfly by the velvety dark brown, almost black wings: a pair of lower ones are bordered at the bottom by an orange-red stripe with black spots, and a pair of upper ones are decorated with bright red stripes and white spots. These diurnal butterflies live in the temperate climatic zone of Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. The wingspan is 5–6 cm (2–2.5 in).

Entomologists note the red admiral’s tendency to active migration as a special characteristic of the species. These butterflies fly from early June to late September, and in the south of their range – from late May to October; they hibernate in the southern regions. The winged insect has a fast and erratic flight, the speed can reach 15 km (9 mi) per hour.

These insects are often found sitting on blackberries, butterfly bush, showy stonecrop, or holy rope in summer; in autumn you can also see them on fallen fruits, especially on pears and plums, or on the trunks of fruit trees.

The butterfly, like all other representatives of the family Nymphalidae, has good eyesight. But two antennae on the head are considered more powerful sense organs; with their help, it can catch odors at a very long distance.

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The red admiral is one of the most beautiful butterfly species in Lithuania which I remember since my childhood. It is not very shy and considered to be a people-friendly insect: if you stand for a few minutes and do not make any sudden movements, a red admiral will land on you and delight you with its beauty.

I hope you enjoyed my Wildlife: Red admirals in Lithuania post. If you like nature, here are a few more posts that I recommend you read next:

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