Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
Photo: atalanta30.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, May 2021

Photo: atalanta24.jpg

Bern, Switzerland, August 2020

Field notes and information

This is one of Europe's most widespread migrants. It spends the winter in southern Europe, migrating north every year.

Identification & Similar species: The only similar species in the region is the Canary red admiral, V. vulcania. That species is only found in the Canary Islands and Madeira where the current species also flies. It has much richer red-orange upperside markings and a broader forewing orange band with two large characteristic notches.

Distribution & Flight: Hibernated specimens are rather scarce in the north of its range in spring. Arrivals from the south boost northern populations in late spring and throughout summer. The butterfly often becomes common in the autumn when they can be found flying into December on warm days.

Habitat & Behaviour: Found in diverse habitats, linked to its strong migratory behaviour. Takes nectar wherever it can find it, especially from thistles. Frequently found in towns and villages where it feeds on garden flowers. Feeds frequently on sugars from rotting fruit.

Photo: atalanta10.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, January 2007

Photo: atalanta12.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, January 2007

Photo: atalanta18.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, October 2014

Photo: atalanta23.jpgPhoto: atalanta22.jpg

Rhodes, Greece, May 2017

Photo: atalanta11.jpgPhoto: atalanta9.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, January 2007

Photo: atalanta8.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, January 2007

Photo: atalanta19.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, October 2014

A close up of the brush foot tucked into the body below the eye.

Photo: atalanta13.jpg

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: atalanta32.jpg

El Hierro, Spain, August 2021

Photo: atalanta27.jpgPhoto: atalanta28.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, February 2021

Photo: atalanta31.jpg

Geneva, Switzerland, June 2021

Photo: atalanta7.jpg

Brittany, France, July 2008

Photo: atalanta25.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, October 2020

Photo: atalanta21.jpg

Vaud, Switzerland, August 2015