© Peter J. Bryant.

American Lady

Vanessa virginiensis

Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae

Back to Butterflies of Orange County, California
Back to Arthropods of Orange County, California
Back to Natural History of Orange County, California


Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 6-2-12. © Robert Gorman

Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 6-2-12. © Robert Gorman

© Peter J. Bryant. 

Larva in silken house on everlasting. San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 6/18/12. © Robert Gorman

Larva in silken house on everlasting. San Clemente, Orange County, CA. 6/18/12. © Robert Gorman


Characteristics:
The two large eyespots on the ventral hindwing distinguish this species from similar-appearing Vanessa and Vanessa annabella which both have four spots.

Distribution: Spotty records exist from Orange County, extending from the lowlands to the mountains. This species, unlike its two relatives, is never common locally.

Flight Period: Our records range from March to October, but the Painted Beauty appears to be most common during summer months. It is known to fly throughout the year in Los Angeles County (Emmel and Emmel, 1973).

Larval Foodplant: Gnaphalium spp. (cudweed or everlasting), Antennaria spp. (pussytoes), Artemisia spp. (sagebrush), Anaphalis margaritacea, and other Compositae. Eight species of Gnaphalium occur in Orange County. Theodore Hower mentions finding larvae in Silverado and Trabuco Canyons on "everlasting" in April of 1952.

Other Remarks: Cynthia virginiensis is much less common than its two close relatives, Cynthia cardui and Cynthia annabella. Yet, it is likely to be encountered almost anywhere.

From Orsak, L. J. (1977). The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Center for Pathobiology Miscellaneous Publication #3. University of California Press, New York. 349pp.

Return to Butterflies and their larval foodplants
Return to Natural History of Orange County, California