Red Submarginal Bands, White Spots and Blue Spots on the Hindwings Assure You that It’s a Red Admiral Butterfly

Red admiral butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

This is our 2nd post of a Red Admiral butterfly. After having been rousted from the trail moments before, it flew to this tree and perched on it for quite a while. This is routine behavior for this species.

Each year the numbers of Red Admirals vary. 2011 produced a moderate number of these butterflies. 2010’s flight was much greater in number. The population fluctuations of this and most other butterflies remain an excellent subject for doctoral studies . . . too bad few have been done.

Red Admirals are like people who appear unexpectedly, chat you up energetically for several minutes and then carom off seeking their next pliable ear. These butterflies swoop in to where you are standing/working, fly from one spot to another as you move about and are soon seen winging it to some unknown destination.

The red submarginal bands, white spots and blue spots at the rear of the hindwings are the clinchers that assure you that you’re seeing a Red Admiral Butterfly.

So when you look up from planting those salvia, agastache, coneflowers or tomatoes and see this distinctive color pattern, you can be sure that during your brief break . . . you’ve been fortunate to have been in the company of a Red Admiral butterfly. And no sooner do you realize this, then you see . . .