Green Planet: Beautiful Red Admirals in Lithuania

by Arūnas
Vanessa atalanta

Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) are a very well known and widespread species of butterfly in the Nymphalidae family, the range of which covers Europe, Central Asia, North Africa, and North America.

Five interesting facts about the red admiral:

  • It was first described by the Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus in his 10th edition of Systema Naturae (1758).
  • The Latin epithet atalanta refers to Atalante, a virgin huntress in Greek mythology.
  • It has established itself in Hawaii, New Zealand, Bermuda, the Azores, and the Canaries.
  • The males are territorial butterflies that patrol their areas in order to find female mates.
  • These butterflies cannot stand winter cold and are forced to migrate southward during the winter months to warmer climates.

Red Admirals Pictures


Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
Red admirals have a wingspan of 50 to 65 mm (2–2.5 in)
Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
The color of the wings is dark brown, sometimes almost black, with bright red stripes and white spots at the apex of the fore wings; the color of the stripes varies from yellow to orange to carmine and it can be interrupted by black scales on the front wing; the number of white spots is also not constant
Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
Red admirals fly to Lithuania and the Baltic states from North Africa in early June
Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
They are often found sitting on blackberries (Rubus fruticosus), butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii), butterfly stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile) or holy rope (Eupatorium cannabinum) in summer; in autumn you can also see them on fallen fruits, especially on pears and plums, or on the trunks of fruit trees
Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
In the second half of August and September, red admirals from North migrate to South through Lithuania
Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
Red admirals are considered to be people-friendly butterflies and known to perch on humans

The red admiral’s status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least concern


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