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Red Admiral
Red Admiral Red Admiral Red Admiral
Photos © Kim Hosen
Top - Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area, Nokesville, VA: August 2010
Lower left - Merrimac Farm WMA; August 2009
Lower center - Whooping Crane Conservancy, Hilton Head Island, SC; December 2007
Lower right © Mark D Swartz, Bull Run Mountain, Haymarket, VA; July 2014
Bottom left - Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area; July 2016

Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta
Wingspan: 1 3/4 - 3 inches

The Red Admiral is a medium-sized butterfly that is easily distinguished from all other species in our region by the bright, red-orange bands across all four upper wings. The wing tips are dotted with white.

Look for Red Admirals in open moist meadows near woodlands, fields and suburban gardens.

This swift-flier, which cannot survive harsh winters, migrates in spring and summer, some years in great numbsers.

Red Admirals nectar on flowers when their preferred food sources - fermenting fruit, sap and bird droppings - are not available. Red Admiral caterpillars feed on nettles (Urtica gracilis and U. dioica).