Images of a Red Admiral Butterfly "Vanessa atalanta "Alderman". (Caterpiller picture from Dave's Garden)
This butterfly is very friendly and totally unafraid of humans. Known for landing on people day after day, this guy acted like he was actually posing for these pictures.
1 3/4 to 2 1/4 inches long they like Nettles especially but will also use other species of the Urticaceae as their host plant. That would include False Nettles and Hops. The adults feed mostly on flower nectar, over ripe fruit, or bird droppings.
They have two broods a year and migrate from the south each spring. Seldom do they over winter where it freezes. Like many of our neighbors, they reside in southern Texas in the winter.
Their habitat is almost anywhere in the country and where there is moisture: forest margins and glades, rivers, shorelines, barnyards, gardens, parks, roadsides, meadows, and fields. Typically, they roost for the evening in trees.
In the summer, they will chase each other or Painted Ladies just before a thunder storm or at dusk. During sunshine, they will sit quietly and drink from flowers and fruit.
They are in nearly every portion of the US and other countries. The male is territorial and chases intruding male butterflies away. He will patrol his territory about thirty times an hour. Should you find yourself in the middle of a "duel", they put on quite a show in the air. They don't attack, they out fly and out maneuver during flight. The best, fastest and fanciest pilot wins.
Birds are their common enemy.
The common name was given to them because the stripes resemble the chevrons on a Navy uniform. They are a beautiful butterfly and it sure made a rainy day turn into sunshine.