Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington


Species Vanessa atalanta - Red Admiral - Hodges#4437

What type of butterfly - Vanessa atalanta Black spiny caterpillar - Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral Butterfly - Vanessa atalanta Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Nymphalinae (Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.)
Tribe Nymphalini
Genus Vanessa (Ladies and Red Admiral)
Species atalanta (Red Admiral - Hodges#4437)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758)
Above, adult is dark brown to black with a broad red band on the hind wings and red stripe diagonally across each forewing; tips of forewings have a pattern of white spots. Below, the leading edge of the forewing is marked with red, white and blue; otherwise mostly mottled grey/brown.

Caterpillar highly variable "ranging from almost white or pale yellow-green to black;usually heavily salted with pale flecking."(1)
Almost cosmopolitan. In North America it was thought that it died out every year after entering the northern part. Nowadays, there is evidence that it travels south, perhaps as far as Mexico. Year round in Mexico and Central America.
Caterpillar feeds on various plants in the Urticaceae family (nettles), also other families, Asteraceae (thistles), Salicaceae and Cannabaceae.
Life Cycle
Overwinters as pupae and adults in the South.

1. Eggs. 2. First instar caterpillars. 3. Later instar caterpillar. 4. Caterpillar in built-up shelter. 5. Chrysalis. 6. Adult
Caterpillar makes a larval shelter, either tying up the leaves of a shoot tip, or usually later in the life cycle rolling a leaf.
Print References
Glassberg, et al. (2)
Wagner (1)
Internet References
The Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site. Help contribute to scientific knowledge about these butterflies.
Iowa State University - detailed description
Animal Diversity Web - detailed description
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
2.Butterflies Through Binoculars: The East
Jeffrey Glassberg. 1999. Oxford University Press.