Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Red Admiral:
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758)

Red Admiral egg.
ova
  Red Admiral caterpillar.
larva
  Red Admiral chrysalis
pupa
Red Admiral
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Nymphalinae : Genus Vanessa: Species atalanta:
Description
The Red Admiral is a common and regular migrant to the UK which in mild winters also survives here (primarily in the south of England) so some of the population are from resident stock.

This large black butterfly with a flash of vivid orange-red across its forewings and around the edge of its rear wings and a splatter of white spots towards its wing-tips is a common sight in our gardens during mid-late summer. They are often found nectaring on garden Buddleias Michaelmas Daisy or Ice Plant or during late summer/early autumn seen feeding often in large numbers on flowering Ivy and rotting fruit in gardens and orchards.

Sightings of the Red Admiral can continue well into November on sunny days and they are often reported during December, January and February when almost all other species of butterfly are unlikely to be seen.
Habitat
Anywhere in the UK where abundant nectar sources are available and Common Nettle the larval food plant can be found.
Distribution
This familiar butterfly can be found anywhere in Britain in almost all habitat types. It is a strong flyer and is known to migrate from continental Europe to the UK every year. Global warming will no doubt help it to become firmly established as a resident species in the future across Britain.
Where to see the Red Admiral in the British Isles
This familiar butterfly can be found anywhere in Britain in almost all habitat types. It is a strong flyer and is known to migrate from continental Europe to the UK every year. Global warming will no doubt help it to become firmly established as a resident species in the future across Britain.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
adultadultovalarvaeadultovalarvaeadultovalarvaeadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaepupaadultadultadult
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Red Admiral in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Least Concern Least Concern

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
64-78mm
UK status
Migrant
Larval foodplants
Primarily Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) is used. Small Nettle (Urtica urens) Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria judaica) and Hop (Humulus lupulus) are also used.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust.
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Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 down by -38%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 up by 350%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status not listed (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Red Admiral except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Red Admiral on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Red Admiral can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Red Admiral can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Red Admiral
Image ID BB2433 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2433 ©
Image ID BB2432 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2432 ©
Image ID BB2431 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2431 ©
Image ID BB2430 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2430 ©
Image ID BB2429 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2429 ©
Image ID BB2428 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2428 ©
Image ID BB2427 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2427 ©
Image ID BB2426 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2426 ©
Image ID BB2425 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2425 ©
Image ID BB2424 - Red Admiral - © Steven Cheshire
Red Admiral (imago)
BB2424 ©
There are 36 photographs of the Red Admiral in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the Red Admiral as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 3 named aberrant forms of the Red Admiral currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. klemensiewiczi - Schille 1896
ab. nana - Schultz 1905
ab. umbrosa - Fischer 1908