- Subfamily:: Nymphalinae - Nymphalini
- Wingspan: 45-65 mm
- Flight period: (Jan) Mar - Oct (Dec)
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Urticaceae - Cannabaceae
The Vanessa atalanta also known as Red Admiral is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family, subfamily Nymphalinae, of medium to large size,
with wingspan of 48 - 65 mm.
It is distributed throughout Europe, in Italy it is also present in the islands. *
The Vanessa atalanta has the upper side of the wings is black with two showy red bands, the first oblique on the front wings, the second follows the margin of the rear wings the white spots at the apex of the front wings are equally striking, the same drawing, more tenuous, is repeated on the lower page. The lower page of the rear wing, on the other hand, recalls an arabesque with colors ranging from hazelnut to brown to black. **
Sexual dimorphism is not evident. Polivoltina has the normal flickers between June and October depending on the altitude. It winters as an adult and therefore can be seen in flight even in mid-winter on sunny days. Fast-flying, it makes frequent stops everywhere, both to warm up and to feed. It has a marked territoriality and demonstrates this by launching itself against every butterfly that flies near its territory. It can be found in the wooded countryside and on the edge of the woods, sometimes even in the city. It is encountered from the basal to the mountain level throughout Italy. It makes medium - long range displacements. Adult specimens often frequent the flowers of plants such as Buddleia (Buddleja Davidii) and rotting fruit to feed.
The caterpillar varies a lot its pattern, the color varies from green to black points to black with yellow or red spots. However, branched "thorns" are always present.
It develops mainly on Urticaceae such as Urticaceae, Urtica (Nettle), Laportea canadensis, Boehmeria cylindrica and on Cannabaceae, Humulus lupulus (hops).
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/