Red Admiral Vanessa Atalanta

The Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta is an unmistakable garden visitor. This black-and-red beauty may be seen feeding on flowers on warm days all year-round. Adults are mostly migrants, but some do hibernate here.


A fairly large black, white and red butterfly, the Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta is an impressive visitor to our gardens where it can be spotted feeding on buddleia and other flowers. It will also frequent all kinds of other habitats, from seashores to mountains! Adults sometimes hibernate, and may be seen flying on warm days throughout the year, although they are most common in the summer and early autumn. The caterpillars feed on common nettles.

How to identify…?

The Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta is mainly black, with broad, red stripes on the hindwings and forewings, and white spots near the tips of the forewings.

Did you know…?

           Most Red Admiral Vanessa atalantas are migrants to the United Kingdom from North Africa and continental Europe, arriving in spring and laying eggs that hatch from July onwards. But some adults manage to survive the winter by hibernating here.

How people can help

           To attract butterflies, such as the Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders for them to feed along and climbing ivy and shrubs for overwintering insects.