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Species Vanessa virginiensis - American Lady - Hodges#4434

American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis Vanessa virginiensis American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis Butterfly - Vanessa virginiensis American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis Vanessa virginiensis - male
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies (excluding skippers))
Family Nymphalidae (Brushfooted Butterflies)
Subfamily Nymphalinae (Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.)
Tribe Nymphalini
Genus Vanessa (Ladies and Red Admiral)
Species virginiensis (American Lady - Hodges#4434)
Hodges Number
4434
Other Common Names
American Painted Lady
Hunter's Butterfly
Dama dos ojos
Identification
Below (ventral surface of wings): two large eyespots, considerably larger than those of Painted Lady. Compare, on the left, American Lady, Vanessa virginensis, and on the right, Painted Lady (Cosmopolitan), Vanessa cardui:
  

Dorsal wing surfaces: If present (it isn't always--see below), a white dot in the orange of the forewing distinguishes American Lady from the Painted Lady. Another easy-to-see character is the falcate (notched) wing-tip of the American Lady. In the Painted Lady the wing-tip is rounded. See these photos below for a detailed comparison:
  

The white spot is very small or absent in some specimens, including ones that appear to be fresh--examples:
  

Larvae are variable: greenish yellow with black bands to black with cream bands, numerous red-based branched spines; two prominent white spots on each segment. (1)
Range
Much of North America south to Columbia and Venzuela. Also found, mostly at high elevations, on several islands in the Greater Antilles. Overwintering in the south and moving northward (usually well into Canada) varying distances during the spring and summer where it breeds and produces summer generations. Also sometimes encountered in western Europe, where it is likely a stray, and apparently established in the Canaries and Hawaii.
Food
Larvae feed on Cudweeds and Everlastings.
Remarks
Often found with Vanessa cardui and not obviously different unless one looks closely.

One of the few "numbered" butterflies, Hodges #4434

Replaced in South America by extremely similar V. braziliensis and V. altissima, which are both perhaps subspecies of V. virginiensis; and which if so, would make this a very wide-ranging species occurring pretty much through the entirety of the Americas. South American V. myrinna is also very similar and sometimes confused with the others, even though distinctly different.
Print References
Daniels, p.197 (1)
Internet References
The Vanessa Migration Project--help contribute to scientific knowledge about these butterflies.
Works Cited
1.Butterflies of Florida Field Guide (Our Nature Field Guides)
Jaret C. Daniels. 2003. Adventure Publications.