Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta


This butterfly is unmistakable, with the velvety black wings intersected by striking red bands.

Identification difficulty

This butterfly can be found almost anywhere, from the seashore and town gardens, to the tops of the highest mountains.

When to see it

Adults may be seen throughout the year but there is build up in May and June as migrants arrive from the Continent to boost UK numbers.

Life History

Migrant visitors breed and give rise to the next generation of adults with a peak of emergence between mid-August and early October. There is a single brood each year. The main larval foodplant is Common Nettle (Urtica dioica). It over-winters as an adult.

UK Status

This is a widespread species and can be found anywhere in the British Isles, including The Orkneys and Shetland.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

59.023 BF1590

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map