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American Painted Lady 
Latin Name: Vanessa virginiensis
 
Genus: Vanessa    Species: virginiensis 
Family
Latin Name: Nymphalidae
Common Name: Brush-Foots
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Family Members
 
SubFamily
Latin Name: Nymphalinae
Common Name: True Brush-Foots
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SubFamily Members

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Comments:
Considered a common butterfly, the American Painted Lady is often overlooked despite its attractiveness. The intricately detailed, agate-like design on the underside of the wings is a sharp contrast to the bold orange and black pattern above. Nervous and wary, it is difficult to approach and a challenge to closely observe. When disturbed, it takes off in a low, erratic flight but often returns to a nearby location just a few moments later. The larvae construct individual shelters on the host by spinning together leaves and flowerheads with silk. Inside, the larvae safely rest when not actively feeding.
   
Life Cycle:
Broods:
multiple generations; adults overwinter
Egg:
small pale green eggs laid singly on upper surface of host leaves
Larva:
variable; greenish yellow with narrow black bands to black with cream bands and numerous red-based, branched spines; pair of prominent white spots on each segment
Host Plants:
Purple Cudweed, Wandering Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Sweet Everlasting and others
   
Host Plants:
Host Plants:
Purple Cudweed, Wandering Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Sweet Everlasting and others
   
Habitat:
Habitat:
open, disturbed sites including roadsides, old fields, pastures, utility easements and gardens
   
     
     
   
Wingspan:
Inches:
1.75 - 2.4
Centimeters:
4.4 - 6.1
   
Appearance:
Sexes:
similar; females with broader wings
Compare:
Painted Lady has a row of four small ventral hindwing eyespots.
   
     
     
Markings:
 

Above:

  • orange with dark markings and borders; forewing has small white spots near apex  
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Below:

  • brown with ornate, cream cobweb pattern; hindwing has two large eyespots and narrow lavender marginal band  
 
Florida Distribution:
Abundance:
common to abundant
   

 

     

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Map Legend: Resident (green) | Stray (Red)


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