Red admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Red admiral, photo: Arne Ader

Vanessa atalanta is a butterfly in the Nymphalidae family. They can be recognised by the dominating black colour on their wings. They have large black-light brown wings. When they sit, they place their wings so that the front wings remain between the back wings. The front wings are longer than the back ones, which is why their ends remain visible. This is why the underside of their wings has a dual pattern. The part of the front wings which is hidden in rest position, is brightly coloured, but it only seen during flight. Parts of the front wings and the back wings, however, are shaded. They can be seen everywhere in open landscapes, gardens, forests, and meadows, on the flowers of various plants. The caterpillars feed mainly on the stinging nettle. Vanessa atalanta caterpillars are poisonous. Their eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides, and imagoes are an important link in the food chain of ecosystems, as they are food for many invertebrates and vertebrates. The imagoes of butterflies require nectar for survival, and therefore, they are important pollinators. In Tallinn, they are most common in Astangu, Pääsküla bog, Raku, Liiva, and Merimetsa.