Vanessa atalanta

Admiral (Vanessa atalanta ) on ♀ Stonecrop

The Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, syn. Pyrameis atalanta ) is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae ( Nymphalidae ).

  • 3.1 food of the caterpillars
  • 3.2 Flight Times
  • 6.1 Notes and references
  • 6.2 Literature


The moths reach a wingspan of 50 to 65 millimeters. You have dark brown forewings tops, where about in the middle runs a broad red band. The females have a small white spot in this almost always. The tips of the forewings are black in color and bear several large and small white spots. The hind wings are also dyed dark brown and wear a broad red band on the wing outer edge. This runs in the middle of a black point row. At the extreme edge of all four wings, a very thin, white line, which is briefly interrupted by black spots runs.

The caterpillars are about 40 mm long. They are in their coloring depending on the habitat variable, but generally yellowish gray or brown to black and have a stain on the sides series of differently sized, cream-colored spots. These are particularly noticeable with dark caterpillars. Sometimes these spots but completely missing.

Similar Species

  • Red Admiral (Vanessa vulcania ) ( Godart, 1819). Occurrence in the Canary Islands and Spain


The animals arrive in North America to Guatemala, Haiti, New Zealand and in North Africa and Europe from Asia to the West. They are found up to an altitude of 2,500 meters. In every area especially adapted to the regional climate populations that migrate within a climatically similar area in the spring to the north and south in the fall live. The southern European populations not fly today to Central Europe, but within the Mediterranean to the north and especially in the mountains. Central European populations fly in the north to southern Scandinavia and fall back to their wintering areas. These are found primarily in West Germany and in eastern France. The northern boundary of the continuous distribution in Europe currently runs from the south of England and Denmark to Rügen. At the beginning of the 21st century, the approach appears to have come from Southern to Central Europe to a standstill.

The known migrant moths live in various habitats, such as forests, on agriculturally used land, but also in gardens and in the settlement area.

Way of life

You can often find the Admiral on Butterfly Bush ( Buddleja davidii ) or watch Wasserdost, in autumn they suck also like to aufgeplatztem on the ground windfalls and Efeublüten.

Food of the caterpillars

The caterpillars of Admiral feed exclusively on the Great nettles (Urtica dioica). In the southern areas of distribution, they also feed on glass herbs ( Parietaria ), which also leads to the nettle family ( Urticaceae ) belong.

Flight Times

They fly in Central Europe in one generation from June to October, in warm areas in three or four generations from February to November. Overwintering moths can be found throughout the year, with the animals usually die at the first frost.


The females lay their eggs singly on to semi-shade standing forage crops. The resulting hatching caterpillars spin leaves typical for eye-catching leaf bags together, in general, the petiole of this leaf is chewed part of shelter and hangs down. The leaf bag is held together by the caterpillar with filaments and leave only when she has eaten so much that she offers her no sufficient protection. You also pupate in her hiding in a brown or gray Stürzpuppe wearing shiny metallic spots on the back.

Mass propagation

Occasionally, of the mass- occurrence ( gradation) of the caterpillars of the moth Admiral was reported, but the caterpillars are harmless to both humans and animals as well as crops.