Friday, July 29, 2011

Red Admiral Confusion

Many of us encountered numerous Red Ads in Purple Places this season. E.g., there was one every 50-75m along the rides in Fermyn Woods in early July. Red Ads also visited a lot of baits, natural and otherwise, this season. It seems there was a sizeable influx of Red Ads to the SE on the back of thunderstorms there on Tues June 28th.

Red Ads commonly set up territories in iris territories, though well below Emperor level. Indeed, one way of finding new Emperor territories is to look for Red Ad territories, and then look upwards.

Battling territorial Red Ads also chase each other about at speed, though usually not at irisian level - but we can at a distance mistake atalanta for iris because of this behaviour. Atalanta doesn't, however, engage in the classic circling squabble of iris males. Brothers c-album and cardui also chase each other about, sometimes high up - out of sight & out of mind, like iris. So we can confuse these lesser mortals for the Monarch of all the Butterflies at a distance. Beware of false prophets, for many will come in His name... A male Emperor will, of course, see off any of this riff-raff.

Here is a couple of pix of a male Red Ad that adopted Brother Neil as a perching point below the Marlpost Wood North Gate iris territory this season. Red Ad males are almost ubiquitous here during the Purple season -

Note the use of Grecian 2011 in the above pic... It proved, though, useless as a bait for iris.

1 comment:

irisscientist said...

The essential habitats for atalanta and iris could not be more different. Their independent habitats only becoming apparent in this context (i.e iris predominant locations which present with grass rides and low growing nettles, along walking paths) where human coincidence deems fair to fit them. Do we see iris around areas of only low growing nettles?

Personal Obs: Vanessa atalanta males are attracted to bright colours, particularly white, whereas his highness appears to prefer colours in the reflective spectra, which is not unsurprising considering the reflective/iridescent nature of his territorial competing males. Daily basking rituals are known to be heavily exhibited by the males of both species. The unidirectional flow of hemolymph through the imago’s circulatory system (as noted by Wasserthal, 1983), consequently helping to support the classic ‘mud puddling’ behaviour which would be needed in order to maintain the isotonic balance of the male butterflies hemolymph, and thus helping to explain the ‘sweat’ attraction (and salty baits?) which has been associated with the males of both species. Despite the Butterflies over riding genera, it is here however where the two species split!