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Vanessa gonerilla ida

Chatham Islands red admiral

Kahukura

Photo by Lloyd Esler

V. gonerilla ida is only found on the Chatham Islands (Rēkohu/Wharekauri). There are red admirals elsewhere in the world but this sub-species is found nowhere else. Its name in Te Reo is 'kahukura', meaning red cloak.

This is a medium-sized butterfly. Its host plant, Urtica australis, is common on the Chatham Islands, and the butterfly is fairly common.

Family
Nymphalidae
Biostatus
Endemic - only found on the Chatham Islands group of islands.
Host Plant
The butterfly breeds on Urtica australis, the southern or Chatham Islands nettle.
Egg
Green, ribbed and barrel-shaped, generally laid singly on leaves of nettles.
Larva
Five instars.
Pupa
Pupa about 20 mm.
Adult or Imago
Top of forewings mostly black with a central bright red bar running from front edge. White spots, fringed with light blue near tips of forewings. Hindwings are dark reddish brown, with a red patch containing four black circles. Centre of each circle is pale blue. Underside of hindwings cryptic. Underside of forewings has blue eyespot bracketed by red and white arcs.
Wingspan
45-58 mm wingspan. The wing shape is smoother and more rounded than V. gonerilla gonerilla and it is more orange than red.
Overwinters
Overwinter as adults. Long-lived, surviving up to six months (summer) and nine months (overwintering).
Range
Very common over summer. Its host plant grows wild all over the islands.

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