American Painted Lady

Vanessa virginiensis (va-NESS-uh vur-jin-ee-EN-siss)

American Painted Lady female - Cook County, Illinois, USA 12-June-2005 [Tom Bentley]
Photo © Tom Bentley
 

Checklist Number
59.025

Family:NymphalidaeRafinesque, 1815
Subfamily:NymphalinaeRafinesque, 1815
Tribe:NymphaliniRafinesque, 1815
Genus:VanessaFabricius, 1807
Subgenus:  
Species:virginiensis(Drury, 1773)

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Introduction

This species is considered to be an extremely rare natural migrant, first seen in the British Isles around August 1828 at Withybush, near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. There are less than 100 records of this species, all of which are confined to south and west coasts in both Ireland and England.

Those reaching our shores are believed to either come from the east coast of the USA, or from the Canary Isles, Madeira or Portugal, where this species is also found in small numbers. Given the similar appearance to the Painted Lady, this rare migrant is almost certainly overlooked.

Vanessa virginiensis

This species was first defined in Drury (1773a) as shown here and as shown in this plate (type locality: New York, Maryland and Virginia).

American Painted Lady male - Mt. Magazine, Logan Co, Arizona, USA 26-June-2004 [Bill Bouton]

Male
Photo © Bill Bouton

American Painted Lady  - Gainesville, Florida, USA [Andrew D. Warren]

Male Underside
Photo © Andrew D. Warren

American Painted Lady female - DuPage County, Illinois, USA 24-June-2007 [Tom Bentley]

Female
Photo © Tom Bentley

American Painted Lady female - St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, USA 22-May-2010 [Jeff Trahan]

Female Underside
Photo © Jeff Trahan

Photo Album ...


History

The table below shows a chronology of vernacular names attributed to this species. Any qualification of the name (e.g. male, female) is shown in brackets after the name.

YearNameReference
1704VirginianaPetiver (1702-1706)
1853Scarce Painted LadyMorris (1853)
1853Hunter's CynthiaMorris (1853)
1860Beautiful Painted LadyNewman (1860)
1898Hunter's ButterflyHolland (1898)
1913American Painted LadyNewman & Leeds (1913)
1959Scarce LadyHeslop (1959)
1991Hunter's Painted LadyThomas & Lewington (1991)

Conservation Status

No conservation action is relevant for this species.

Habitat

Description to be completed.

Distribution

1.2 Rare Migrant
 

This species is a rare migrant to the British Isles.

Life Cycle

All records of this species in the British Isles are from August to October, with the exception of a single suspect record in July from Kent, and another in July from East Sussex.

Imago

Description to be completed.

Description to be completed.

Vanessa virginiensis

Vanessa virginiensis, Azores, Sao Miguel, 2007-10-28

Photo © JKT
Azores
28-Oct-2007

American Painted Lady - imago - USA - Unknown date (2) [Tim Knight]

Photo © Tim Knight
USA

American Painted Lady - imago - USA - Unknown date [Tim Knight]

Photo © Tim Knight
USA

American Painted Lady - imago - Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores - 06-Aug-09 [Andy Barker]

Photo © Andy Barker
Azores

American Painted Lady - imago - Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores - 06-Aug-09(2) [Andy Barker]

Photo © Andy Barker
Azores

American Painted Lady - imago - Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores - 06-Aug-09(3) [Andy Barker]

Photo © Andy Barker
Azores

American Painted Lady  - Gainesville, Florida, USA [Andrew D. Warren]

Photo © Andrew D. Warren
USA

American Painted Lady female - St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, USA 22-May-2010 [Jeff Trahan]

Photo © Jeff Trahan
USA
22-May-2010

American Painted Lady female - DuPage County, Illinois, USA 24-June-2007 [Tom Bentley]

Photo © Tom Bentley
USA
24-Jun-2007

American Painted Lady female - Cook County, Illinois, USA 12-June-2005 [Tom Bentley]

Photo © Tom Bentley
USA
12-Jun-2005

American Painted Lady male - Mt. Magazine, Logan Co, Arizona, USA 26-June-2004 [Bill Bouton]

Photo © Bill Bouton
USA
26-Jun-2004

American Painted Lady male - Moore County, North Carolina, USA 10-June-2006 [Bill Bouton]

Photo © Bill Bouton
USA
10-Jun-2006

American Painted Lady - Mt.Magazine, Logan Co, Arizona, USA 25-June-2004 [Bill Bouton]

Photo © Bill Bouton
USA
25-Jun-2004

American Painted Lady - Mt. Magazine, Logan Co, Arizona, USA 20-June-2006 [Bill Bouton]

Photo © Bill Bouton
USA
20-Jun-2006

American Painted Lady - Morrow County, Georgia, USA 6-Oct-2015 [Damian Pinguey]

Photo © Damian Pinguey
USA
06-Oct-2015

American Painted Lady - Maryland Pine Barrens, USA. 18-May-2016 [Paul Kipling]

Photo © Kip
18-May-2016

Photo Album (16 photos) ...


Ovum

Description to be completed.

American Painted Lady ova - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 18-May-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis
18-May-2012

American Painted Lady ovum on Cudweed species -Tyler Co, Texas, USA 31-March-2008 [Wanda Smith]

Photo © Wanda Smith
31-Mar-2008

Photo Album (2 photos) ...


Larva

Description to be completed.

The primary larval foodplants are Cudweeds (various) (Gnaphalium spp.) and Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.).

American Painted Lady larva - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 10-June-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


1st Instar

Description to be completed.

2nd Instar

Description to be completed.

3rd Instar

Description to be completed.

4th Instar

Description to be completed.

5th Instar

Description to be completed.

American Painted Lady larva - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 10-June-2102 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

American Painted Lady larva - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 16-June-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

Photo Album (2 photos) ...


Pupa

Description to be completed.

American Painted Lady pupa - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 19-June-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

American Painted Lady pupa - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 19-June-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

American Painted Lady pupa - Lincoln, Nabraska, USA 19-June-2012 [Nicky Davis]

Photo © Nicky Davis

Photo Album (3 photos) ...


Aberrations

Description to be completed.

Click here to see the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

Similar Species

Painted Lady

Description to be completed.

Videos


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The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Drury (1773a) Drury, D. (1773) Illustrations of Natural History (Vol.1).
Fabricius (1807) Fabricius, J.C. (1807) Magazin für Insektenkunde, herausgegeben von Karl Illiger.
Heslop (1959) Hislop, I.R.P. (1959) A new label list of British macrolepidoptera. Entomologist's Gazette.
Holland (1898) Holland, W.J. (1898) The butterfly book.
Morris (1853) Morris, Rev.F.O. (1853) A History of British Butterflies.
Newman (1860) Newman, E. (1860) A natural history of all the British butterflies.
Newman & Leeds (1913) Newman, L.W. and Leeds, H.A. (1913) Text Book of British Butterflies and Moths.
Petiver (1702-1706) Petiver, J. (1702-1706) Gazophylacii naturae et artis decas prima.
Rafinesque (1815) Rafinesque, C.S. (1815) Analyse de la nature ou Tableau de l'univers et des corps organisés.
Thomas & Lewington (1991) Thomas, J. and Lewington, R. (1991) The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland.