Saturday, May 22, 2010

American lady
Vanessa virginiensis

On the wing, I always get American ladies mixed up with west coast ladies (V. annabella) and painted ladies (V. cardui). I have a suspicion that each flies distinctively (you know, fluttery or irratic or with a group or only along woods-meet-grassy areas kinda of thing), but I haven't seen this kind of description in the literature. Glassberg makes his typical off comment (and it is helpful), "American Ladies have big eyes and an open mind." The two large eyespots on the hindwing from below are what I look for to distinguish the American lady from the other two, which both have what look like 4 small eyespots... if I can actually catch one resting long enough to see. Plus, from above on the forewing, there is a tiny white dot in the orange cell under the black tips, but you'd have to use photographs or pinned specimens to notice this. Sigh...

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