Macro of a muted Red Admiral found in the Fletcher Conservation area in Ottawa, Ontario. July , 2012
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Wingspan: 45 – 57 mm, a mid-size butterfly
Description: black and dark brown wings, forewings crossed by a red median band, hindwings edged in reddish-orange, underside of forewing with blue, pink and white, underside of hindwings mottled brown.
Larva: up to 40mm; black with many-branched black or yellow spikes, yellow-white dots along sides
Range: throughout Ontario
Habitat: woods, fields, even city gardens
Larval foodplant: nettle, sometimes on cultivated hops
Flight Season: mid-April to October
Overwintering stage: adult
True fact: Red admirals often claim and vigorously defend a territory against other males of their own kind, choosing exposed hilltops and tree trunks as lookout points. In the northern part of its range, in some years this species has been plentiful, while in other years, almost absent. This has led lepidopterists to speculate that this species may be migratory.