Migrant butterflies on the move

Photo: Arne Ader
Translation: Liis
Admiral
 
Red admiral    Admiral      Vanessa atalanta
 
The migrant generation of the red admiral is on the move in Estonia. The summer heat suits the travellers. The length of a day trip length may be up to fifteen kilometres.
 
In South Europe and North Africa the admirals are active all the year. In August the second wave of migrants usually reaches us, and the imagos hatched from the eggs laid on nettle leaves by the butterflies of the first immigrant wave hatch too.
 
The female butterflies lay up to a hundred eggs, the development of the egg lasts roughly a week, after that they develop into caterpillars, up to three and a half centimetre long and spiky. Most birds don’t care for the prickly caterpillars. They develop into butterflies in two-three weeks.
 
In August the butterflies mostly feed on flower nectar, somewhat later we see them on fallen fruits sucking juice: plums, apples, pears. Slightly fermenting nectar from cracked fruits is a particular delicacy for the butterflies. Apparently some of the butterflies lack the  migrating instinct and we see them in flight here until late autumn.
 
Our winters are usually disastrous for the migrant butterflies; only a few „chosen“ individuals survive them, protected from the winter cold in deep tree crevices or other suitable places.
 
Web camera image: Bea, LK forum
 
Admiral in the stork nest
 
The third storklet, Lenny, in the clinic is in the care of Dr Madis Leivits. Urmas has visited the patient and in the beginning of next week the situation should be clearer. We will keep all informed of developments.


 

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