Subject: Painted, American or West Coast Lady?
Location: West Los Angeles
October 6, 2012 4:42 pm
Hi Bugman,
This smallish butterfly has been visiting lately. I have a guide book that shows three very similar butterflies: Painted Lady, American Lady and West Coast Lady. Is the pictured butterfly one of these?
Thx, Jeff
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Painted Lady

Hi Jeff,
This is, in our opinion, a Painted Lady,
Vanessa Cardui.  We observed at least four individuals this morning in the northeast portion of Los Angeles in Elyria Canyon Park.  They were nectaring on Baccharis.  We photographed at least two individuals and we are planning on posting some images soon.  According to BugGuide, the main visual differences between the American Lady and the Painted Lady are a “tiny white spot on the American Lady” which is absent on your individual and the number of eyespots on the underwings which your photo does not illustrate.  Another difference is the “squared-off wingtip of the American Lady versus the rounded wingtip of the Painted Lady” and your individual has the rounded wing tip.  The differences between the Painted Lady and the West Coast Lady are also covered on BugGuide which states:  “The most obvious character that separates this [West Coast Lady] from the very similar Painted Lady, is the large subapical bar near the front of the forewing, which is orange on this species (left) and white in The Painted Lady – V. cardui (right).”  Your individual has the white bar indicating that it is a Painted Lady.

Location: California

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