Status:  uncommon resident (also migrant?)

Flights:  1+, Apr-Nov

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  throughout, except SE county

Habitats:  open areas w/low veg: coastal chaparral, parks, streamsides, forest edge, dunes

Host plants:  composites: sudweed, everlasting, pussytoes, mugwort

Adult foodavid at nectar, esp dogbanes; also sap, decaying matter

Conservation: secure globally


  1.   adults can’t survive extended cold winter, but may winter farther north than other vanessas

  2.   overwinter mostly in south, disperse north in spring

  3.   adaptive strategy may be to reinforce northern resident pops with southern emigrants

  4.   also called Hunter’s butterfly, Virginia lady

  5.   smaller than PALA and has protruded FW apex; HW UN two large eyespots; FW small white spot on CU1, black median bands disconnected


American lady

Vanessa virginiensis

Life history facts

egg: laid singly on tops of host plant leaves

larva: solitary, lives/feeds in nest of leaves tied with silk


adult:  hibernates; males perch on bare ground, where they display or absorb minerals; females fly in low zigzag pattern looking for host plants on which to oviposit

old stage rd