Red Admiral

Butterfly or Moth
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
June 8, 2011 8:19 pm
Hi. This evening I saw what I thought was a butterfly in my yard, but after looking at pictures and trying to identify it, now I’m not sure what it is. It seems to have two ”legs” that I do not see on any of the butterfly or moth photos online.
This sighting occurred in St. Petersburg, FL at approximately 6:15 p.m. on June 8. It landed on one of my potted plants and stayed there (slowly ’flapping’ its wings) for a minute or two.
Signature: Stephanie

Red Admiral

Dear Stephanie,
We wonder if perhaps you are confusing the antennae for legs.  This is a Red Admiral Butterfly, and it has a coast to coast distribution in North America, and it is also found in Eurasia and in Russia, according to Vladimir Nabokov, it is known as the Butterfly of Doom because in 1881, the year Tsar Alexander II was assassinated,  great numbers of Red Admirals migrated.

Hi, Daniel.
Thank you so much for the identification!  I’ve never heard of a Red Admiral but I feel blessed to have seen this beautiful creature in my yard.
The ‘legs’ I referred to are shown below in my photo (with the arrows).  None of the photos of butterflies that I viewed online showed these ‘protrusions.’  (see example on the right.)  My butterfly looks like a little bat!  I’m thinking maybe there is another set of lower wings that aren’t fully extended …
Thanks again for your help.

Hi Stephanie,
Your butterfly has damaged wings, and the vestiges of the wings were mistakenly identified as legs.

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