American Painted Lady – Vanessa virginiensis
Live butterflies photographed in the wild at Winfield, Illinois. Also commonly called American Lady
The American painted lady and their its close relative, the Red Admiral are perhaps the most cold tolerant of all North American butterflies. It is believed many of these butterflies are able to overwinter, even in the northern U.S. While common in the East, its numbers never seem very large in any particular area; In much of the west, its appearance is completely unpredictable. It is an avid flower-visitor and can often be found in gardens with butterfly bushes.
Similar species: Painted Lady has smaller eyespots below. West Coast Lady has orange bar across black patch.
Life Cycle: Barrel-shaped pale green eggs are laid singly on thistle (Cirsium), Aster or mallow. Caterpillars range up to 1¼”(35mm). Their color varies from purple with yellow back stripe to chartreuse with black marbled appearance. Chrysalis 1″ (25mm) pale green to brown, bumpy, hangs upside down. Flight: Two or more broods; year-round in south. Habitat: Anywhere; Meadows, fields, open areas.
Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America.