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American Lady
American Lady American Lady American Lady
Top and lower center © Kim Hosen; Meadowood, Fairfax County, VA; July 2013
Lower left © Kim Hosen; Dove's Landing, Manassas, VA; September 2007
Lower right © Eli Hosen; Richmond, VA; July 2009

American Lady
Vanessa virginiensis
Wingspan: 1 3/4 to 2 5/8 inches

The American Lady is a medium-sized, dull-orange butterfly with black wingtips that are dotted with white. The area between the wingtips and the body is marked with black cob-webbing.

Below, the lower half of American Lady's forewing is marked with a smudged pink patch. At the edge of the lower hindwing are two large eyespots. The lookalike Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), has four smaller eyespots in this position.

The American Lady migrates north in the spring and south in the fall, some years in large numbers.

Look for the American Lady along forest edges, meadows and suburban gardens.

Caterpillars feed on plants in the Aster family (Compositae), such as ironweed, pearly everlasting and plantain pussy toes.