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  • American Lady Butterfly - (Vanessa virginiensis)

    American Lady Butterfly - (Vanessa virginiensis)

    The American Lady's enormous geographic range covers all three countries on her continent - just not all at the same time of year.


    Staff Writer (5/17/2017): The American Lady Butterfly is a member of the Brush-footed butterfly family. She is related to the Painted Lady, the Red Admiral and the West Coast Lady. The front legs are very short and covered with little hairs or bristles, like that of a hairbrush. Because their front legs are so short, they sometimes look as though they only have four legs.

    The top of the forewings and hindwings are orange, black and white. There is a tiny white dot on teh middle part of the orange forewing. The hindwings have two blue eyespots on each wing. These are visible when the wings are open. If the butterfly's wings are closed, the underside is a grayish brown with a flash of bright pink on the forwings. The hindwings have two blue eyespots on that side as well.

    This butterfly prefers sunny, open habitats like fields, canyons and meadows. In the summer months, they can be found in the southern parts of Canada and northern U.S.. Come winter though, they migrate to the warmer weather in Mexico and the southern U.S..

    Caterpillars eat cudweeds, everlastings and plants in the aster family. It is tublular and black with yellow thin bands or stripes forming rings around its body. Reddish-brown or white spots are interspersed between set of the yellow bands. Bristles protrude from those spotted areas of the body. Two to three generations of this species of butterfly can be born every year.

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    Details of the:
    American Lady Butterfly


    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: American Lady Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Vanessa virginiensis

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Vanessa
            Species: virginiensis





    Size (Adult, Length): 44mm to 54mm (1.73in to 2.13in)

    Identifying Colors: white; black; brown; gray; orange; pink; blue

    Additional Descriptors: eyespots, lady, four legs, flying


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the southern parts of the Canadian provinces: Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.





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