Red Admiral population explosion
Location: St. Catharines (near Niagara Falls, Ontario)
May 3, 2012 10:13 am
I thought you might be interested to know we have a Red Admiral population explosion going on here! I understand it is in most of eastern North America. I have never, in my few years of butterfly-watching, seen Red Admirals in these numbers. They are everywhere, in the numbers one usually sees only with the Sulphers in August. I’m not sure what the reason for it is (perhaps you’ve heard?) but I am enjoying it. Seeing one butterfly always brightens my day, but seeing dozens on my way into work is simply stunning!
(I snapped this pic on my visit to a local wetlands Sunday. She/He was a very obliging butterfly!)
The Red Admiral is surely a jaunty and cheerful butterfly, actually one of the Ladies in the genus Vanessa in drag. Vladimir Nabokov, the noted author of Pale Fire, referred to them as the Red Admirables in that playful way he had with words. He also said in a 1970 interview that in Russia the Red Admiral is known as the Butterfly of Doom because in 1881 when Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, large numbers of them migrated. We hope there is no ill wind behind you sighting.
Ed. Note: Please send us your Red Admiral photos and the locations of your spring 2012 sightings.
Another Ed. Note: We just located this fun old posting.