Painted Lady

Subject: Checkerspot? Crescent? Neither?
Location: Tonasket WA
July 28, 2017 7:04 am
Wish I could have gotten the upper sides of the wings, but the darn thing flew so fast, didn’t want me near it and only fed with it’s wings up. The upper sides were a whole bunch of bright dark orange with black pattern lines. Sneaking up on some butterflies is right up there with Ninja skills! It’s on a Gloriosa Daisy, and quite hot here, 90’s during the day, but 50’s at night. We have a year round creek, well treed, about 1/4 mile from us. Our bushes and trees are chokecherry, service berry, pine, fir, wild roses and red and black currant. Willows and elms on the creek. Average rainfall is less than 20″ a year, and winters can get to 20 below. Last winter was a real cold one. I’m surprised anything made it.
My favorite part of this butterfly is it’s antenna! In the sun they looked like fiber optic wands. The white part really glowed. The closest I could see it looked like was a Silver Checkerspot, but the eyespots on the hindwing are really the wrong colors, and the range for the silvers is the east, not the west. And then I got led to the Crescents…
So I’m plenty stumped. Please feel free to edit my pic for posting. Thanks everyone (submitters and staff) for this wonderful site. Tremendously informative, often amusing and the pictures are a real treat.
Signature: Cathy

Painted Lady

Dear Cathy,
Your image is quite lovely.  This is neither a Checkerspot nor a Crescent.  This is one of the Ladies in the genus
Vanessa, and had you been able to get an image of the open wings, it would have made our identification more definite.  We believe this is a Painted Lady, as you can see by comparing your image to this BugGuide image, and not a West Coast Lady and the difference is described on BugGuide as:  “The most obvious character that separates this from the very similar Painted Lady, is the large subapical bar near the front of the forewing, which is orange on this species [ed. note speaking of the West Coast Lady] and white in The Painted Lady.”  Though the wings on your individual are closed, the subapical bar in question does appear to be white.

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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