Red Admiral (Early Stages)

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Vince Massimo
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Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:33 pm

The Red Admiral is primarily a migrant to our shores, although sightings of individuals and immature stages in the first few months of the year, especially in the south of England, mean that this butterfly is now considered resident. This resident population is considered to be only a small fraction of the population seen in the British Isles, which gets topped up every year with migrants arriving in May and June that originate in central and southern Europe. The butterfly is not able to hibernate in the strictest sense of the word and the majority of adults leave the UK in late August to mid-October and fly south to the winter breeding grounds in southern Europe. Those that remain are usually unable to withstand our winter, especially in the cooler regions of the British Isles, however there have been increasing records of small numbers of adults surviving during mild winters. Regular records also exist of late eggs and larvae which develop slowly in very sheltered locations, usually on or near the south coast, and produce winter and spring adults. Because it does not hibernate, the butterfly can become active on any sufficiently warm day in winter, so can be seen in any month of the year.

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Christmas Red Admiral - Crawley, Sussex 25-Dec-2015

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Winter Red Admirals - Crawley, Sussex 20-Feb-2017


The Ovum and Larva

Red Admiral eggs are laid singly on the upperside of the leaf of the host plant, usually Common Nettle. They are similar in appearance to those of the Comma, but in my experience they are laid towards the middle of the leaf, whilst the Comma tends to prefer the leaf edges.

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Red Admiral ovum - Crawley, Sussex 23-Oct-2015

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Ovum (6 days before hatching) - Crawley, Sussex 31-Oct-2015

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Ovum (3 days before hatching) - Crawley, Sussex 3-Nov-2015

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Ovum (1 day before hatching) - Crawley, Sussex 5-Nov-2015

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Empty Ovum - Crawley, Sussex 6-Nov-2015

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1st instar (newly emerged) - Crawley, Sussex 6-Nov-2015


After the egg hatches, the larva initially forms a silken tent on the underdside or upperside of a tender leaf, or within the terminal leaves of the plant. As it feeds and grows the shelters become more elaborate. In November 2015 I observed a larva progressing through a series of shelters, all of which were different. This may not be typical behaviour in this case because the larva in question was the result of a late egg and its development could have been affected by the colder weather.

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1st Instar (first shelter) - Crawley, Sussex 7-Nov-2015

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1st Instar (second shelter) - Crawley, Sussex 8-Nov-2015

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1st Instar larva (constructing third shelter) - Crawley, Sussex 9-Nov-2015

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1st Instar (third shelter) - Crawley, Sussex 10-Nov-2015

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1st Instar (fourth shelter) - Crawley, Sussex 12-Nov-2015

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Red Admiral 2nd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 3-Dec-2015

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Red Admiral 2nd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 25-Dec-2016

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 12-July-2017

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 19-July-2017

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 20-July-2017

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva (pre-moult) - Crawley, Sussex 20-July-2017

By its third instar it generally proceeds to construct a full tent by folding the edges of a leaf together and binding the sides of the join with silk. The two following two images show the progression of a larval tent utilised by an overwintering larva which chose to feed entirely within the structure and moulted inside the remainder. However not all shelters fit this pattern and some are folded downwards.

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3rd instar larval tent (newly formed) - Crawley, Sussex 19-Dec-2015

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3rd instar larval tent (after 17 days) - Crawley Sussex 5-Jan-2016

These early shelters are unmistakable because they are usually very symmetrical, unlike the tents formed by some moths and other insects and spiders which also feed or shelter on nettle. The most likely cause for confusion that I have observed is a type of shelter formed by some larvae of the Small Tortoiseshell when they start to disperse from their communal webs. They construct and use these for protection during the few days when they are moulting. However these tend to be found near the old webs and there are often several in a small area. Another common cause of confusion are the tents of the Nettle-tap moth larva which are very common at the same time of year.

I watched a third-instar larva construct a larval tent from scratch. It first lays strands of silk across the top rear edge of the chosen leaf and then chews through some of the the main ribs at the base of the leaf, just forward of the stalk. The silk strands stop the now weakened leaf from distorting downwards and the two upper edges of the leaf are then folded upwards and knitted together with silk, leaving a small opening at the tip.

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva constructing tent - Chaldon, Surrey 30-July-2011

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larval tent - Chaldon, Surrey 1-August-2011

The above photo is also interesting in that it shows an earlier abandoned effort on the leaf below. It laid down the silken strands but then decided to move to another leaf. The resulting structure is unlike anything else and is reminiscent of a closed Venus Fly-Trap leaf. The original hole made by the larva in the leaf should still be visible, although it is sometimes obscured by folds in the leaf.

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Red Admiral 4th instar larval tent - Crawley, Sussex 22-Feb-2016

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Red Admiral 4th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 21-July-2017

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Red Admiral 4th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 25-July-2017

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Red Admiral 4th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 6-July-2017

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Red Admiral 4th instar larva (pre-moult) - Crawley, Sussex 30-July 2017

The larva emerges from its shelter to feed on adjacent leaves, but also partly consumes its early shelters and constructs larger ones as it grows, usually higher up the same plant. There should therefore be a succession of shelters, with the larva hopefully being found in the largest, if it survives predation. Succeeding shelters will not necessarily be of the folded leaf type and the larva may move to other plants.

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Multiple larval tents, Woldingham, Surrey 1-June-2012

The final tent is another very distinctive structure, usually formed at the top of the plant and comprising a number of leaves knitted together with silk. Part of the process is that the larva chews part-way through the top part of the main stem, which topples but remains attached to the plant. The larva continues to feed in this shelter and may pupate inside if there is sufficient room. If not, it utilises larger leaves further down the plant, which are loosely joined together with silk strands.

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Typical Red Admiral 5th instar larval tent, Chaldon, Surrey 22-August-2011

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Red Admiral 5th instar larval tent - North Stoke, Sussex 6-April-2017

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Red Admiral 5th instar larval tent - North Stoke, Sussex 6-Aril-2017


Red Admiral larvae have several colour forms, ranging from black through greenish-brown to a very pale yellowish-green. These colours mainly appear in the final instar and usually intensify and change significantly as the larva becomes full grown.

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Red Admiral larva (moulting to 5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 31-July-2017 (L1)

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Red Admiral larva (freshly moulted 5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 31-July-2017 (L1)

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Red Admiral larva (early 5th instar) - Crawley, Sussex 1-Aug-2017 (L1)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 5-Aug-2017 (L1)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 15-July-2017 (L2)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 30-March-2017 (L3)

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Red Admiral early 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 9-Mar-2016 (L4)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 15-Mar-2016 (L4)

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Red Admiral late 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 23-Mar-2016 (L4)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 6-Apr-2017 (L5)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 12-Apr-2017 (L5)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 17-Apr-2017 (L6)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva, Caterham, Surrey 23-June-2011 (L7)

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva, Caterham, Surrey 23-June-2011 (L7)


The Pupa

Pupation follows a recognised sequence, commencing with the larva suspending itself upside down from the underside of a leaf or stalk.

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Red Admiral larva preparing for pupation, Caterham, Surrey 29-June-2011

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Red Admiral larva just prior to commencement of pupation, Caterham, Surrey 29-June-2011

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Red Admiral larva commencing pupation, Caterham, Surrey 29-June-2011

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Red Admiral larva completing pupation, Caterham, Surrey 29-June-2011

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Fresh Red Admiral pupa, Caterham, Surrey 29-June-2011

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Typical Red Admiral pupa, Caterham, Surrey 4-July-2011

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Red Admiral pupa (typical ventral view) - Crawley, Sussex 27-Apr-2017

In the above case, the pupal stage lasted 17 days. In the days prior to emergence there were some very subtle colour changes to the pupal case, until suddenly, on the final morning, the whole pupa darkened and the colours of the wings showed strongly through the outer case.

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Red Admiral pupa (3 minutes before emergence), Caterham, Surrey 16-July-2011

In 2011 two adults were hatched and released. Both were female, one being ab.bialbata, which displayed white spots within the red bands of the forewings.

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Red Admiral female ab.bialbata (freshly emerged), Caterham, Surrey 20-July-2011

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Red Admiral female (freshly emerged), Caterham, Surrey 20-July-2011

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Red Admiral female (freshly emerged), Caterham, Surrey 20-July-2011


Large and small larval tents are easy to spot, so it is worth checking out your local nettle patch, especially on fresh growth in a sunny, sheltered location.

Vince
Last edited by Vince Massimo on Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:40 pm

Excellent Vince, just excellent :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby David M » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:03 pm

Absolutely fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing that.

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Nick Broomer » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:22 pm

thoroughly enjoyed your pictures, excellent

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Lee Hurrell » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:48 am

Good work, Vince - another informative and eductional report!

Cheers

Lee
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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby 59 SPECIES » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:32 pm

Superb Vince. No other word

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:52 pm

Thanks for the comments everybody and especially to Pete for the proxy tweet :D .

It made a change to complete a Species Report inside 2 months. It usually takes the best part of a year to put one together because I prefer to only use my own photos.

I have two unfinished projects at the moment which will be completed in 2012 and I also hope to get to grips with some more "Nettle-Eaters" and "Whites" next season.

Cheers,
Vince

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:03 pm

2012 turned out to be a very good year for Red Admiral and the season started very promisingly when I discovered a very early egg-laying female a few hundred metres from home on 20th March. She was responsible for at least 14 eggs (3 of which were on the same nettle leaf).

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3 Red Admiral ova - Caterham, Surrey 20-March-2012

Many larval tents could be found throughout the season, including this one which seems to show how the larva progressed across the plant.

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Red Admiral larval tents - Woldingham, Surrey 1-June-2012

The tent on the bottom right appears to be the first, with the larva then constructing the second on the bottom left, before progressing to the top left where the first multi-leaved shelter was formed. All tents were vacant, apart from old droppings.

On 20th June I discovered a fully grown Red Admiral larva completely in the open on a nettle plant. This was taken home for further study. It fed for three days and then formed a pupation tent.

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Red Admiral pupation tent - Caterham, Surrey 23-June-2012

Pupation took place on 27th June and the adult emerged 12 days later on 9th July.

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Red Admiral (reared and released) - Caterham, Surrey 9-July-2012


UKB member Nick Broomer describes in his personal diary of how he monitored a larva in his garden in June 2012. Development times turned out to be slightly longer for the wild individual compared to those which were reared by me, but this is not unexpected.

Summary:

Time spent by larva suspended before pupation:
2011 (reared) - 2 days
2012 (reared) - 2 days
2016 (reared) - 2 days
2012 (wild) - 5 days

Time spent as a pupa, before emerging:
2011 (reared) - 17 days
2012 (reared) - 12 days
2016 (reared) - 13 days
2012 (wild) - 18 days

The 2012 season ended spectacularly with reports from Neil Hulme and Mark Colvin of 1000+ Red Admirals found feeding on the juices of fallen plums at a fruit farm in Ticehurst, East Sussex in mid-September. In 2011 egg-laying was recorded by Richard Roebuck at Goring, East Sussex as late as 15th November and in most years some larvae have been found to be able to over-winter in sheltered spots near the Sussex coast.

Vince

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:59 pm

On 9th October 2015 I observed a Red Admiral laying an egg at a site close to my house in Crawley, Sussex. Knowing that some late eggs can produce larvae which develop slowly over the winter months, I took the egg into care in order to observe its development. The resulting larva, together with its associated plant was given some shelter over the winter and ultimately produced an adult butterfly on 18th April 2016. This was released the following day.

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Red Admiral pupa - Crawley, Sussex 18-April-2016

Other images have been incorporated into the main report at the top of the page (all those dated 2015 and 2016)

Development took place as follows:

Egg laid 9-Oct-2015
Egg hatched on 6-Nov-2015 (after 28 days)
First instar for 12 days (moult to 2nd on 18-Nov-2015)
Second instar for 29 days (moult to 3rd on 18-Dec-2015)
Third instar for 24 days (moult to 4th on 11-Jan-2016)
Fourth instar for 57 days (moult to 5th on 8-Mar-2016)
Fifth instar for 28 days
Pupated on 5-April-2016
Emerged on 18-April-2016 (after 13 days)
Total of 164 days from egg hatch to adult

Paul Harfield also documented the development of two larvae over the winter of 2014/2015 in Wiltshire, although neither produced an adult.
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=6085&start=420#p105800
His two larvae developed as follows:

L1 & L2 development overview *(L1 1st & 2nd instar duration is combined)

L1
Ovum 15 days
1st Instar *
2nd Instar 18 days
3rd Instar 14 days
4th Instar 13 days
5th Instar 25 days
6th Instar none
Ovum-Pupa 135 days
Pupa 50 days

L2
Ovum 27 days
1st Instar 76 days
2nd Instar 51 days
3rd Instar 13 days
4th Instar 13 days
5th Instar 13 days
6th Instar 16 days
Ovum-Pupa 209 days

There are also reports from Dave Harris of Newhaven, Sussex which details overwintering eggs and larvae over the winter of 2014/2015.
viewtopic.php?f=110&t=8143#p94263
viewtopic.php?f=110&t=8295#p98371

Vince

EDIT: 4th May 2017 - I have now corrected the above post which originally reported that the larva only went through 4 instars on its way to adulthood. This was due to a mis-observation and there were actually 5 instars which is the normal number.

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Paul Harfield » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:39 pm

Hi Vince

Very interesting information. Any ideas what triggers the differing number of instars?

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:38 pm

jackz432r wrote:
Any ideas what triggers the differing number of instars?


Hi Paul,

After reading your report, I was surprised when my larva pupated at the end of its fourth instar. The norm for the summer brood appears to be 5 instars, but I don't think we have enough data to know what to expect for an over-wintering larva. Between our two documented efforts, which encompass only three larvae, we have recorded 4th, 5th and 6th instars, of which only one survived, so it's a mystery at the moment.

I have done some reading on the process of moulting and pupation and it's all triggered by hormones https://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425 ... rine2.html which are released following "sensory inputs from the body". I suspect environmental factors play a part in this. I have also read somewhere that if a larva consumes all of the available food plant before it has fully developed it may pupate early and give rise to an undersized adult. In my case the potted food plant I used was healthy and robust throughout the life of the larva, so this should not, in itself have accounted for the early pupation. Having said that, the larva did not look to be as large as a summer example when it pupated and the adult was also slightly undersized. This however could be "normal" for a winter brood.

Vince

EDIT: 4th May 2017 - This post has now been superseded by events. It has now come to light that the larva in question actually went through the normal number of 5 instars.

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:44 pm

These are really exceptional observations, as ever, Vince. The only species found in the British Isles that is known to go through a variable number of instars, to the best of my knowledge, is the Glanville Fritillary. I think that this should be written up in a formal article (and posted on Dispar, but I am biased!) and is a fantastic example of citizen science.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:08 am

Thanks Pete :D

Credit must go to Paul Harfield as well for his data.
You mention Glanville Fritillary, but I now recall that the Comma has a variable number of instars, depending on the brood. It is well documented that the first brood larvae have 5 instars, while the second brood have 4.

I will be in touch regarding the article.

Vince

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:59 pm

Good point - I'd completely forgotten about the Comma!

The following paper may be of interest: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23347450

[Edited to change URL]

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:04 pm

Firstly a correction to my post of 19th April 2016, where I reported that I observed an overwintering larva going through only 4 instars prior to emerging as an adult butterfly. After studying more larvae in 2017 and reviewing the previous data, it was clear that there were actually 5 instars observed, which is the normal number. The post in question has now been corrected, as have all other references. However this is not the end of the variable-instar issue, because there is now more evidence of a 6-instar example.

Over the winter of 2016 and through to August 2017, I carried out further studies of this species, particularly with regard to the overwintering larval stages. As a result, the original report of 2011 has now been updated with many new images (all those dated 2017 and some from 2016 ). The following report will now cover the development an individual overwintering larva (through 6 instars) and also include a complete and updated sequence documenting a larva through pupation and on to the emergence of the adult.

On 31st October 2016 I found 2 Red Admiral eggs on a patch of nettles growing in the shelter of a south-facing wall on the seafront at Lancing, Sussex. They were both placed on the edge of a leaf and could therefore easily be confused with the eggs of a Comma.

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Red Admiral eggs - Lancing, Sussex 31-Oct-2016

On egg failed to hatch and the other produced a larva on 9th November 2016. It was given some shelter over the coming winter, but nevertheless developed very slowly. By the time the larva had reached its 5th instar, on 14th March 2017, it was smaller than expected and then surprisingly moulted again on 28th March into its 6th instar. It achieved a final length of over 35mm, pupating on 3rd April and producing an enormous adult female on 23rd April 2017.

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Red Admiral 1st instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 15-Nov-2016

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Red Admiral 1st instar tent - Crawley, Sussex 23-Nov-2016

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Red Admiral 2nd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 9-Jan-2017

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Red Admiral 3rd instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 12-Feb-2017

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Red Admiral (early) 4th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 1-Mar-2017

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Red Admiral 4th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 8-Mar-2017

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Red Admiral (early) 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 14-Mar-2017

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 20-Mar-2017

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Red Admiral (early) 6th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 28-Mar-2017

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Red Admiral 6th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 1-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral 6th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 2-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral 6th instar larva (pre-pupation) - Crawley, Sussex 3-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa - Crawley, Sussex 5-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa - Crawley, Sussex 23-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral emerging - Crawley, Sussex 23-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral release - Crawley, Sussex 23-Apr-2017


Develoment took place as follows:
Egg laid on 12-Oct-2016 (estimated)
Egg found on 31-Oct-2016
Egg hatched on 9-Nov-2016 (after approx 28 days)
First instar for 31 days (moult to 2nd on 1-Dec-2016)
Second instar for 66 days (moult to 3rd on 13-Feb-2017)
Third instar for 17 days (moult to 4th on 1-Mar-2017)
Fourth instar for 13 days (moult to 5th on 14-Mar-2017)
Fifth instar for 13 days (moult to 6th on 27-Mar-2017)
Sixth instar for 7 days
Pupated on 3-April-2017
Emerged on 23-April-2017 (after 20 days)
Total of 167 days from egg hatch to adult

Paul Harfield also observed a larva going through 6 instars over the winter of 2014/2015 in Wiltshire, although it subsequently failed to produce an adult. Paul also documented the development of an overwintering larva in 2016/2017 which produced an adult on 19th May 2017 (details are waited).

In spring 2017 I found several other overwintering larvae of this species. The advanced development of the larvae clearly indicated that they could not have originated from spring eggs. The earliest report of eggs in 2017 for this species was 10th March.

27th March 2017 – 4th instar at the seafront at Lancing, Sussex
27th March 2017 – 5th instar at the seafront at Lancing, Sussex
Both were in the same nettle bed where eggs were found the previous October.
6th April 2017 – 3 x 5th instars at North Stoke (near Amberley), Sussex
11th April 2017 – 5th instar at North Stoke (near Amberley), Sussex
These were in a south facing nettle bed at the base of an escarpment.

Throughout much of 2017 I reared or observed many more larvae, either from eggs laid in the garden or rescued from vulnerable locations along the public highway. This enabled me to produce an updated sequence of images documenting a larva through pupation and then emergence as an adult.

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Red Admiral 5th instar larva - Crawley, Sussex 12-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral larva (preparing to pupate) - Crawley, Sussex 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral larva (commencing pupation) - Crawley, Sussex 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral larva pupating - Crawley, Sussex 14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (attaching cremaster) - Crawley, Sussex 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (newly emerged) - Crawley, Sussex 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (15 mins old) 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (30 mins old) 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (1 hour old) 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (3 hours old) 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (6 hours old) 14-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (13 days old) - Crawley, Sussex 27-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (37 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 28-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (21 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 29-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (12 hours before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 29-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral pupa (45 mins before emergence) - Crawley, Sussex 30-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral emerging - Crawley, Sussex 30-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral emerging - Crawley, Sussex 30-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral emerging - Crawley, Sussex 30-Apr-2017

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Red Admiral emerging - Crawley, Sussex 30-Apr-2017


Taking into account all data collected from various sources since 2014, the indications are that (as a general rule of thumb), all overwintering larvae will have produced adults by 20th May. Furthermore, adults arising from spring eggs would usually be emerging after that date.

All butterflies and larvae that were reared or observed were released at a safe location.

Vince

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David M
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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby David M » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:28 pm

Superb observations, Vince, backed up with a fantastic array of sequential images.

Interesting that the first Red Admiral larva was able to slow down its development over the late autumn/winter months (31 days in 1st instar & 66 days in 2nd instar).

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:29 pm

Great work, as ever, Vince! I seem to have been rearing large numbers of parasites this year; I have to bite my lip every time I let one go :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Vince Massimo
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Re: Red Admiral (Early Stages)

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:33 am

David M wrote: Interesting that the first Red Admiral larva was able to slow down its development over the late autumn/winter months (31 days in 1st instar & 66 days in 2nd instar).


Thanks David, it seems that the development rates of winter instars are extremely variable. I Imagine that temperature is a primary factor, but do not have enough data to rule out other possiblities.

Pete Eeles wrote:Great work, as ever, Vince! I seem to have been rearing large numbers of parasites this year; I have to bite my lip every time I let one go :)


Thanks Pete, it all counts as data :D

Vince


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