|A Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) at rest (finally). Even with his wings closed, he is a beauty when viewed up close.|
Red Admirals are fleet of wing, and like Monarchs, they undergo seasonal migrations. They can't survive cold winters, so they don't overwinter in our area. Some of the butterflies from the fall generation migrate south to winter in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and other southern states. North America is then recolonized each spring by butterflies coming up from the south. Click here for a 2012 post about a Red Admiral at a sap flow on our dying Ash Tree. It explains more about their migration patterns and also irruption years.
|With wings open, the orange and black make Red Admirals a perfect Halloween butterfly. |
Too bad they usually take off for southern climes before October 31.
If you study the first photo, it looks like the butterfly has only four legs (two on each side), but insects have six legs, so what's up? Brush-footed Butterflies (family Nymphalidae) have six legs, but the first two are so small, you don't notice them. The butterflies don't walk on these very short forelegs, and some species don't even have feet on them, they just have little brushes or hairs, which accounts for the common name, "Brush-footed Butterflies." Because you only see four legs, this family has another nickname, called "Four-footed Butterflies." To learn more about them, click here or here. You can also click here, for an earlier post on a Mourning Cloak butterfly, which is another Brush-footed Butterfly.