American lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
SUBFAMILY: True Brushfoots (Nymphalinae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upperside with uneven brown, yellow, and orange
pattern. Forewing with a black apical patch, a small white spot in the
orange field below the patch, and a white bar at the leading edge of the
forewing. Underside of hindwing with two large eyespots. Winter form
is smaller and paler, summer form larger with brighter coloring.
LIFE HISTORY: During the afternoon, males perch on hilltops or on low
vegetation if there are no hills. Females lay eggs singly on the top of
host plant leaves. Caterpillars are solitary, living and feeding in a nest
of leaves tied with silk. Adults hibernate.
FLIGHT: Three to four broods from May-November, all year in the Deep
South and South Texas. It is not known if adults can survive very cold
winters; the East may have to be recolonized each year by southern
WING SPAN: 1 3/4 - 2 5/8 inches (4.5 - 6.7 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Plants in the sunflower family everlasting
(Gnaphalium obtusifolium), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margarit-
acea), plantain-leaved pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), worm-
wood (Artemisia), ironweed (Vernonia), and burdock (Arctium).
ADULT FOOD: Flower nectar almost exclusively, including dogbane,
aster, goldenrod, marigold, selfheal, common milkweed, and vetch.
HABITAT: Open places with low vegetation including dunes, meadows,
parks, vacant lots, forest edges.
RANGE: Resident in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central
America south to Colombia. Migrates to and temporarily colonizes the
northern United States, southern Canada, the West Indies, and
Europe. Rare stray to Newfoundland and Labrador.
CONSERVATION: Not required.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Crooked Run Valley