Admiral Chat thread – seen any lately and where?

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  • #14604

    Jane
    Participant

    Lately there have been quite a few Red Admirals visiting our Onga Onga and buddleias in urban Palmerston North. We are no-where near any native bush remnants so I find these sightings quite surprising. What a delight it is to see them cruising around in the evening sunshine.

    I think it is the presence of Onga Onga that has brought them in. They don’t seem even slightly interest in our U. australis, U. urens, or even the naughty U. dioica I keep restricted to a large pot, but apprear to prefer the u. ferox.

    Who else has seen Admirals lately? Which colour? Where in the country are you seeing them?

    Jane

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 33 total)
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  • #26238

    Anna
    Participant

    Flutterbys…What a pity about your gazebo! Wind can be a real problem can’t it? I have anchored ours down and luckily we don’t get many windy days…so fingers crossed….it will last out there for a while.
    I saw another Yellow Admiral this afternoon, so have just been out collecting all the eggs that I can find before parasites get them. (she must have smelt the stinging nettle in the garden as theres quite a bit now, and I’m protecting it now I know its the food for the Admirals!)

    #26237

    clinton9
    Participant

    Hi John Early,
    If you are interested in aussie butterflies, you are welcome to have a look at my photoes of Lesser Wanderer butterflies and Australian Painted Lady butterflies in “Photos”
    I posted these photoes few days ago.

    Cheers

    Clinton.

    #26236

    clinton9
    Participant

    Terry,
    Hi, I’m sorry about lack of butterflies in your home.
    I think you could plant nettles & foodplants and buddleias in your gardens to bring in butterflies to your place, and rear the caterpillars & release the butterflies.
    Or plant the nettles in areas of woodland not used by people.
    Nettles will help butterflies recover from too low numbers.

    I reared the caterpillars of Red Admiral butterflies & released them few years ago, but this & last year no Red Admiral butterflies came to my gardens.

    Cheers

    Clinton.

    #26234

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Well done Anna and aren’t those gazebos great?
    Ours is wrecked form the bad wind last year;-( I came home from work to find it upside down and ripped in the roof.
    I probably could get a patch made for the roof but the frame is a little bent. Bit of a shame as this was great.

    We do have our eye on something a little better at The Warehouse in the camping department if it comes down in price;-)

    Cheers
    Char

    #26228

    Anna
    Participant

    I have just had the first of 46 admiral pupae hatch this morning…and yippee its a Red! The caterpillars were a mix of Reds and Yellows I think when I collected them. I have the mesh sided gazebo (like Chars one from Mitre 10) all set up for them to live in there for a while. I’ve planted up a few pots of flowering plants to feed the butterflies on, and some nettle for them to lay eggs on as well.

    #26220

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi John
    Over here in the UK it is the same story and it’s not false memory. As a child growing up in the 1960s I would stop on my way home from school at a couple of gardens that had buddleia davidii flowering in them and they would be covered in Butterflies, in late July to mid August, these days it’s very few.
    Species that were rated as common garden species are rare compared to those days. I would never have bothered with breeding Small Tortoiseshells then except for a bit of fun, but now they are very low in numbers and enthusiasts breed them in captivity for release to help keep numbers up in the wild. . The reason for the decline in the UK is firstly intensive Agriculture, secondly increased building due to overpopulation, thirdly people are obsessed with tidy gardens and now have cheap access to the worst invention of all time, the garden strimmer, fourth the proliferation of Golf Courses with the monoculture sterile grassland associated with this sport; also the amount of land it takes away from nature is enormous, fifthly our Woodlands are now being turned over to ?Morons? who want to play soldiers (paintball games) they have not the courage to join the real Army, they absolutely devastate every wood they are allowed access to. Finally our obsession with political correctness has allowed owners of woods to destroy woodland rides the main habitat for butterflies by giving access to cycles and dog walkers, the owners get money to tarmac or gravel over natural paths for easy access small woodland rides are now made as wide as main roads and as devoid of wildlife There are few wild unspoilt places left in the UK and those that are left will be destroyed by allowing unrestricted access and Government obsession with making money out of every tiny part of these Islands. Our Government would turn the whole of our countryside in to a huge theme park if they could get away with it, and because the majority of the people of the UK are ignorant (and deliberately kept ignorant by our piss poor state education system) of wildlife?s requirements, or they just don?t care it will get worse. Human beings on the whole are selfish and shallow and all they think of in the rich west is how to have pleasure at any cost. We in the UK are becoming more like the USA where the only thing that matters is ?Will it make me rich??

    #26215

    John Early
    Participant

    As a kid growing up in Christchurch in the 1950s and 60s I remember that both admirals were frequent visitors to our garden and commonly seen on the daily trudge up to Cashmere School(or is this now just a romantic notion and false memory??). I don’t recall seeing any on recent summer visits but perhaps Christchurch members might like to comment on how common or rare they are in the city now.

    #26199

    Anna
    Participant

    Elisabeth…you are very kind letting yours go after a few hours! I’ve just bought one of those netted Gazebo’s from Mitre 10 ($150.00) and will keep them in there for a while…and till they lay a few eggs for repayment of my looking after them!
    The gazebo’s are great, and I learnt about them on the forum here.

    #26198

    Anna
    Participant

    I’ve just had the pleasure of watching a little Yellow Admiral caterpillar come out of its egg! It really took its time, but when it finally stopped nibbling the end of its egg out (in the meantime the phone rang, so I stopped videoing it) I restarted the videoing, and out it popped, and started wandering around! What a little cutie:) Its very green with a black head, and black hairs.
    ps/ the egg was laid exactly a week ago…it was last Thursday.

    #26197

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    It is generally agreed that our red admiral is not as plentiful as it once was, and research has indication that parasitism by the self introduced Australian Ichneumon wasp Echthromorpha Intricatoria can account for up to 82% of the pupae, in studies carried out in Banks Peninsula area.
    The yellow admiral, being more urban in its habitat, is more prone to the tiny wasp Pteromalus puparum, which also predates on the Cabbage white butterfly. It is generally accepted that migrant yellow admirals from Australia also help to keep our populations up.
    Great that your red admiral stayed around long enough for the photos, your garden must have everything a butterfly requires.
    It is always handy to have more than one variety of nettle growing, as they usually have an “off” season, which can be offset among the species.
    Cheers.

    #26196

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Hi Norm

    Thanks for clearing up that misconception for me. That’s a very interesting and useful experiment you made. So therefore it’s not necessary to have any other nettles, though I may do anyway. I had thought that was the reason why I release so few red admirals compared to yellows. So maybe it’s because there just are fewer reds around these parts, even though we have bush all around the edges of our property. Or is there another reason – what do you think?

    Was pleased to see another red admiral emerge this morning along with several yellows, and got on the phone to my friend who wants to photograph one. Jan drove over from Ngunguru, half an hour’s drive away, later this morning, eager to have another go. I was doubtful about it staying on a plant outside for long enough to photograph with spread wings – it had been cooped up in the caterpillar castle for 2 or 3 hours already – but we were both thrilled that the very last shot she took of three or four was perfect. It had definitely had enough of inaction by then and took off into the sunshine, last seen making its way down the property towards the bush – lots of teatree flowers there.

    Elizabeth

    Photo here: https://www.monarch.org.nz/2011/02/03/red-admiral-butterfly-jan-doak/

    #26195

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth,

    ‘No, Jane, I would expect native butterflies to turn their noses up at the “foreign nettle” if they have the luxury of the real thing available.’

    There is a misconception that our endemic red admiral “prefers” the native nettles. This probably is a carry over from early literature stating ” our endemic red admiral (Bassaris gonerilla) prefers to oviposit on the Ongaonga” when the introduced European nettles had hardly established themselves. I have experimented many times with introducing field caught reds into the butterfly house containing 5 species of nettle and carefully observed the results.
    Often Urtica urens, the introduced European nettle, is the first one they oviposit on. Urtica ferox in often 2nd or 3rd in line. Urtica australis is completely foreign to North Island admirals, but is utilised by the reds consistently if offered. But there is no set order of preference.
    This of course could be seen as perhaps choosing the plant that is in ‘peak’ condition, but in such experiments I try to ensure that all the varieties are healthy.
    Remember that the “weeds” are a native of Europe, just as our native nettles could be classed as a weed if growing in other countries.
    You will note on Terry’s post above of the reference to the female butterflies habit of “drumming” the leaves with its forelegs after alighting. This action releases chemicals which the female can detect, and if satisfied will then oviposit.
    So it would seem they are happy to oviposit on all the Urtica species happily, and not just what is available.
    Similarly while Urtica ferox is foreign to the Yellow admiral
    (Bassaris itea) it will cover the leaves with eggs willingly.
    Because the yellow admiral is an urban butterfly, and U.ferox a bush plant, the two do not normally meet. But in the odd case where U. ferox is growing on rural land close to buddleia bushes and gardens (nectar sources)the yellow admiral
    can be found utilising it naturally.
    I would stress that if people wish to offer their admirals
    only native nettles, that is choice and I have no problem with that.

    #26186

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi all

    You will probably find that the Red Admiral (B Gonerilla) is not fussy about which species of nettle it lays on, I have reared them on U Ferox, U Dioica, U Australis and U Urens, the position of the nettle will be of more importance. If you are lucky enough to see a female laying eggs, you will notice how she flutters over each patch of nettles and tastes the leaf with a drumming motion and if not satisfied she will move elsewhere before ovipositing. Females are quite fussy and make sure the larvae will get the best conditions to develop successfully. Norm will probably have more info on the best conditions/positions to plant your nettles, only as I am in the UK and have only bred B Gonerilla in captivity, the positioning is not so important. However with our Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta), I have witnessed the females ovipositing in the wild and they are very particular about which nettles and the position they grow in, before they will lay. I have often followed female V Atalanta across fields collecting eggs as she lays them and it can be quite frustrating waiting for her to find the right leaf before she is satisfied and will oviposit. However, V Atalanta likes nettles in hot dry position in full sun for most of the day and only about 6-12 inches in height, the best place to look for larvae is on recently cut patches of nettles that are regenerating, You will find B Gonerilla will have it?s own preferences as it has evolved in a different environment.
    If you watch them carefully it won’t take you long before you spot what conditions they prefer and then you can place all your nettles in positions that will attract the maximum number of females and of course eggs.

    #26183

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Thanks, Darren – all is revealed! Or not.

    No, Jane, I would expect native butterflies to turn their noses up at the “foreign nettle” if they have the luxury of the real thing available. Of course, having lots of nectar flowers in your garden would also make it more attractive – which is probably what is the draw in an urban area, if people have “real” gardens. ie not “landscaped gravel/bark and grasses” gardens! But I’m also biased, liking lots of colour too. Great that “your” butterflies can pick and choose with three different sorts of urtica there! Butterflies’ paradise!
    Elizabeth

    #26180

    Darren
    Participant

    Hi Elizabeth, you can see “edit” on the end of your posts in case you spot a typo and want to fix it. The others cant see them on your posts, just theirs.

    #26178

    Jane
    Participant

    I have seen Red’s here recently around the U ferox, and Yellows mostly on the U. urens, but, none seem interested in the U. dioica even though it is a large plant. I guess they are being choosey!! I am in an urban area and there are not even any bush remnants near. The closest bush remnant to here is 7km away, so it is a treat to see a Red here : )

    #26177

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    ……..by the way – how do you get rid of “edit” from the end of a reply? (I’m not very computer literate!)

    #26175

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Maybe, Blutterfly, it’s because my small nettle patch has been established for several years now – maybe it takes them a while to realise they are there if it’s not in their usual terrain. That’s another thing – maybe they need to have some bush nearby. I don’t know any of that – just guessing!

    #26172

    Jane
    Participant

    Thats very exciting news Elizabeth. It does give you quite a thrill doesn’t it!! And interesting too that they took to your european Nettles. All the Admirals just ignore my U. dioica for some reason, maybe it’s where I have sited the pot. Anyway I can hear the excitement in your post…brilliant news – cheers – Jane

    #26170

    Elizabeth
    Participant

    Very excited this morning to find a beautiful huge red admiral butterfly fluttering around inside one of my caterpillar castles, along with several yellows – all clamouring to escape outside. I released it in the garden and it quickly flew to a downpipe on the house where it sat sunning itself with wings extended for a good half hour or so before taking off down the property and out of sight. Friends who want to try with their super camera equipment for a better photo of a red were unavailable when I phoned, but hopefully there may be a few more in the same batch for them to try again. We’ll see!

    I had thought I’d seen the last of red admirals for this season when the batch of eight appeared a few weeks ago over the space of a week. But it’s good to know they are still willing to use European nettles for their egg-laying, and I should now reward them with their nettles of choice for next season.

    I have taken photos of them myself, but the quality of my camera lens just doesn’t do their rich vibrant colouration and markings justice – you have taken some lovely ones on hebe, Anna.

    Elizabeth

    #26147

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Anna
    Hoping for you that you have collected some Reds. So very pretty.
    Best
    Trisha.

    #26144

    Anna
    Participant

    I’ll definatley take some photos, and let you know. If I get Reds…that will be the ultimate!!
    I want to get them established out here in the Moutere if possible:)
    I have lived here for over 30 years, and have never seen a Red Admiral in the garden…yet…(I’ve seen one Yellow!)

    #26142

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Oops – I see I didn’t clarify that I am seeing only Yellow Admirals in my garden.
    The caterpillars and pupae I collected from a farm in North Waikato were all Yellows.
    Best
    Trisha

    #26133

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Anna,

    Good luck with those pillars. Let us know what colour they were when they hatch out.

    Jane

    #26129

    Anna
    Participant

    I’m lucky to have been out collecting more admiral caterpillars from a friends place, so I’m rapt to have some more to rear. I didn’t see any butterflies there though. I’m unsure whether these are reds or yellow, but have roughly three different sizes.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 33 total)

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