JoinDonateMy Account

Yellow admiral

Vanessa itea

Kahukōwhai

Yellow admiral by Angela Moon-Jones
Photo by Angela Moon-Jones

Endemic, found in New Zealand and Australia as well as Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.  Medium-sized butterfly. Now a common urban butterfly here where the main food plants are species of Parietaria in gardens.  Also on endemic nettles (Urtica).  Numbers build up through the summer until it can be very common around sources of nectar, like climbing ivy and Buddleia in city gardens.

Most countries around the world have a red admiral; but we are different - as well as having our very own red admiral, we share a yellow admiral with Australia.

Biostatus
Native to NZ and Australia as well as Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.
Host Plant
Nettles such as Urtica incisa and U. urens. Also known to feed on Parietaria debilis, P. australis, P. cardiostegia, P. judaica.
Egg
Eggs light green, ribbed, barrel-shaped, laid singly on nettle.
Larva
Variable colours: yellow-green, brown, grey, black, lighter-coloured lines/spots laterally along back. Several rows of spiny protrusions. Six true legs, ten prolegs. Feed at night and hide in 'tents' during daylight. Pupate at about 30 mm.
Pupa
Grey, brown, gold or bronze, about 20 mm long.
Adult/Imago
Upperside of forewings dark brown-black with three small white patches and a wide, bright yellow bar. Dull red nearer the body. Hindwings dull red with a black border and a row of black circles with light blue centres. Underwings are very different. Hindwings cryptic. Forewing underside has a blue eyespot on a black background, highlighted by yellow patches above and below.
Wingspan
48-55 mm
Overwinters
Mostly as larvae but sometimes as a dormant adult.
Range
Reasonably common in open country, wasteland and gardens wherever stinging nettle is found, up to about 1000 m above sea level..
Photo by Terry Oliver-Ward
Photo by Kathy Reid
Photo by Angela Moon-Jones

Sign up for our free e-news

Be kept posted about our special offers, events and news weekly. Better yet, become a financial member of the MBNZT

magnifiercrossmenuchevron-left