Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The arrival in the garden yesterday of a perfect specimen of a Red Admiral, straight out of the chrysalis, reminded me just what striking butterflies they are. The markings are similar to the Painted Lady but the colours so much bolder and vivid.

I always look on the Red Admiral as a an 'English' butterfly but in fact they are quite migratory. They seem more hardy than the Painted Lady and some manage to successfully hibernate and we see them in early spring. By April and May we start to see an influx from the warmer south and by the late summer/early autumn we see the offspring of those early arrivals emerge.

Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that there is a southerly migration in autumn to warmer climes, just like some bird species.

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