Red admiral

Long-distance migrant

Red admiral, photo Eero Haapanen.

The red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) butterfly is a visitor in Finland, hailing from the Mediterranean. Despite being unable to overwinter here, every spring scores of red admirals migrate to Finland from the south.

Red admiral larvae feed on nettles and metamorphose in the late summer. Around this time there are usually plenty of roaming red admirals arriving from the south as well, so they can be seen in large numbers in meadows and by the roadside. In the autumn, red admirals migrate back to the south. Some of them try to overwinter in Finland every year, but these individuals inevitably end up dying.