West Coast Lady

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West Coast Lady
West Coast Lady, Vanessa annabella.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Tribe: Nymphalini
Genus: Vanessa
Subgenus: Cynthia
Species: V. annabella
Binomial name
Vanessa annabella
(Field, 1971)

Cynthia annabella Field, 1971
Vanessa anabella (lapsus)
Vanessa carye annabella

The West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella) is one of three North American species of brush-footed butterflies known colloquially as the "painted ladies". V. annabella occurs throughout much of the western US and south western Canada. The other two species are the cosmopolitan Vanessa cardui (Painted Lady) and the eastern Vanessa virginiensis (American Painted Lady). This species has also been considered a subspecies of the South American Vanessa carye, and is frequently misspelled as anabella.

Distinguishing features[edit]

Schematic of standard wing terminology

Aside from general differences in distribution, V. annabella can be distinguished from the other two painted ladies of North America as follows:

Most conspicuously, it lacks obvious ventral eyespots on the hindwings; there are 2 large ones in V. virginiensis and 4 small ones in V. cardui. Like the latter, it also lacks a white dot in the pinkish/orange subapical field of the ventral/dorsal forewings. Its upperwing coloration has the purest orange of the three; especially the American Painted Lady is usually quite reddish.

A less reliable indicator is the row of black eyespots on the dorsal submarginal hindwing. These are usually of roughly equal size in V. cardui and lack blue centers, though the summer morph may have a few tiny ones. In the other two, usually 2 eyespots are larger and have more conspicuous blue centers. In V. virginiensis, these normally are the spot at each end of the row, whereas in the present species it is the 2 middle ones.

See also Painted Lady

Picture Gallery[edit]

Note: both images are actually of Vanessa cardui, possibly with a slight amount of V. annabella genes due to interbreeding.


External links[edit]