Australia & New Zealand
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - NYMPHALINI
© Rob Herd
Vanessa comprises of about 20 species
worldwide. The genus is divided into 2 groups - the Painted Ladies and
the Red Admirals.
The Red Admiral
atalanta which occurs in Europe, Asia,
north Africa and throughout North America;
indica which is found in temperate regions of Asia;
gonerilla from New Zealand, and the
Yellow Admiral itea ( incorrectly
placed in another genus Bassaris by
some workers ) which is found in Australia and New Zealand, and also
on Loyalty Island and Norfolk Island.
This species can be found in almost any habitat where the larval
foodplants grow, and there are nectar sources available for the
The eggs are green with 9 prominent vertical keels. They are laid in
two's or three's at the top of foodplants, close to the stem near the
stem. The usual foodplant is stinging nettle
Urtica dioica but other Urtica
species are also used. The larva lives solitarily within a shelter
made by folding over a nettle leaf and fastening it with a few strands
of silk. The fully grown larva is black with branched dorsal and
lateral spikes on each segment. There is a pale yellow zig-zag stripe
below the spiracles, interrupted on each segment by a reddish spike.
There are also thinner pale yellow dorsal and subdorsal stripes. The
chrysalis is straw coloured or pale brown and often has a golden
sheen. It is suspended by the cremaster from a stem of nettle or a
nearby twig or plant stalk.
© David Fischer
Males commonly bask on the ground,
waiting to fly up and intercept passing females. Both sexes visit a
wide variety of nectar sources, and visit sap runs on trees.