Surge in Red Admiral Butterflies Across Region

Jun 1, 2012

You’ve probably seen one, or more, in the past couple weeks.  Butterflies are migrating north and have reached the Adirondack region.  The influx of Red Admirals this year is early and in much larger numbers than usual.

The Red Admiral is a brownish-red and black winged butterfly with prominent red-orange markings and its arrival this year has been more noticeable than most years. Paul Smiths’ College Visitor Interpretive Center Interpretive Naturalist Sue Hanley manages the Native Species Butterfly House. She says a surge of Red Admirals have been moving north and east.
Sue Hanley says the Red Admiral is one of the earlier migrating butterflies and she usually doesn’t see them in the middle of the Adirondacks until sometime in June. Cornell University Insect Collection Manager and Coordinator of the Insect Diagnostic Lab Jason Dombroskie is an entomologist specializing in butterflies and moths. He says there’s no way to determine exactly why there are so many Red Admirals this year.
Does the surge in Red Admiral mean there will be larger numbers of other butterfly species this year? North American Butterfly Association President Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg says not necessarily.

The Northern American Butterfly Association estimated that in the middle of May, on a front going from New Jersey to Minnesota, there were about 200-million Red Admirals moving through in a single day.