Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Red admiral caterpillar

from by Robert Arter–Williamson (c)

from by Robert Arter–Williamson (c)

Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla Fabricius

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae

Size range

  • About 36mm long.


  • endemic species.
  • Two subspecies, gonerilla Fab. on main islands and near offshore islands, ida Alfken on Chatham Island

Life History

  • Adult overwinters.
  • Nectar plants such as Buddleia favoured by adults. Also seepage of sap from tree trunks eg beech.
  • Caterpillars feed on stinging nettles, Urtica spp pulling the leaves together with a few silk strands to form a protective tent. Preferred foodplant Urtica ferox.

Additional images