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Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Description: A medium sized red and black butterfly. The upperside is very dark brown to black with an orange-red band running through the forewing and a broad orange margin on the hindwing. The underside is marbled brown, grey, and white with an orange band going through the forewing. There are no similar Maritime species. Wingspan: 45 to 57 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Widespread throughout the Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5B, S5M. NS: S4B. PEI: S4B.

Flight Period: Early May to late October.

Host Plant: Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis).

Notes: Red Admiral is a migrant that does not overwinter in the Maritimes and is not present every year. If adults arrive in spring there may be one to two domestic generations. When present, the Red Admiral can be found in a wide variety of open and woodland habitats where it frequently visits flowers and suns on bare ground. In some years it can be seen in enormous numbers during the fall at patches of thistle in coastal areas and on offshore islands.