Vanessa gonerilla Fabricius

New Zealand Red Admiral (Vanessa gonerilla)

The New Zealand Red Admiral is an endemic species of New Zealand, it was formerly split into two subspecies, of which the nominate race was considered to occur on the New Zealand main islands.

The former subspecies of the Chatham Islands, however, is now treated as a distinct species, thus the New Zealand Red Admiral is a monotypic species. [1]

The species reaches a wingspan of about 5 to 6 cm.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the various native New Zealand nettle species, especially of Urtica ferox G. Forst., and Urtica incisa Poir..


The Maori name of this species is kahukura, which literally means “red cloak”.



[1] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012



Photo: Jon Sullivan

(under creative commons license (4.0))


edited: 28.01.2017