An American Lady

Upperwing pattern of an American Painted Lady

Upperwing pattern of an American Painted Lady

It has been so cold recently that we have not been outside photographing nature. However, this gives us a chance to catch up on some photographs from late Summer and early Fall. This is an American  Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) feeding on a Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii).

It was hard to get a good picture of the upper wing pattern, since this American Lady liked to keep its wings closed. However, the photograph above shows the pattern fairly well. It will be noted that this species is similar to the better-known Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). On the upper wing of the American Lady, however, there is a characteristic small white spot surrounded by orange on the forewing (shown by the small black line) that identifies this as an American Lady.

The photograph below shows the underwing, which is very intricately and beautifully colored. The long proboscis can be seen inserted into one of the Butterfly Bush flowers. The same characteristic white spot surrounded by orange can be seen on the under side of the forewing in the photograph below. The under side of the hindwing has two large eyespots rather than four smaller ones as in the Painted Lady. This is one of our most intricately colored and beautiful butterflies. It deserves a close look.

American Painted Lady showing underwing pattern

Underwing pattern of an American Painted Lady


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