American Painted Lady, Painted Beauty, Virginia Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Vanessa
Species: virginiensis


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama
Barling, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Canoga Park, California
San Diego, California
Ellendale, Delaware
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Quincy, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Dallas, Georgia
Divernon, Illinois
Princeton, Illinois
Villa Park, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Atalissa, Iowa
Benton, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
La Place, Louisiana
Skowhegan, Maine
Milton, Massachusetts
Pinconning, Michigan
Wiggins, Mississippi
Butte, Montana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Dover, New Hampshire
Hudson, New Hampshire
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
, Newfoundland and Labrador
Graham, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Glouster, Ohio
Mount Orab, Ohio
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Fort Worth, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Branchland, West Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Feb 23, 2016, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

I have seen this butterfly periodically in San Diego, and more notably on a trip to the Living Desert in Palm Desert.

The Living Desert has an enclosed butterfly exhibit. While there, a Painted Lady landed on my right sock.

The experience was magic!


On Aug 17, 2009, SusanLouise from Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

We usually just see the Painted Lady butterflies in our gardens. this was our very 1st American Lady...What a thrill! I'm glad I took a second look...from a distance it looked just like a Painted Lady. Glad I took a pic (I posted it) to allow me to see it's two large circled areas on it's lower wings...


On Jan 2, 2009, DMgardener from (Daniel) Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

This flying flower is Glorious! They adore feeding from Zinnias and they are very shy. But, I can not get more than 2ft. within them, let alone hold them! I can make many butterflies and moths perch from my fingers and feed from the flowers at the same time. But this one can not stand people or even small frogs and animals!!!


On Aug 23, 2008, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

From "Insects of the Los Angeles Basin"

"This species has the widest distribution of any butterfly in the world and is migratory like the Monarch; it's migration routes and frequencies, however, are not as well defined nor as well studied. Mass flights of this species though the Los Angeles area have occurred fairly often. A very heavy flight took place in the winter and spring of 1958, when tens of thousands of Painted Ladies passed through the basin in a northwest direction. The place of origin of these migrants is not known, but they probably develop during wet years in northern Mexico. Evidence for a return flight in the fall is scanty."


On May 5, 2007, sueatkins from Brooksville, FL wrote:

I don't believe this buttfly is endangered, at least not at this time. And I believe that is because it has a diverse list of host plants which virtually available all over the world.

In my area, the weed they use as host plant is cudweed. Yes, I let it grow in my garden. In spring as the cudweed begins to stress over the heat, I start to look for the caterpillar nests in the fuzzy flower tips.I have read that they are the clowns of the gardens. They certainly seem so with their antics.


On Sep 10, 2006, IrisLover79 from Westchester, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Pretty little butterflies. In my 8th grade science class, we had a type of netted bag with cocoons inside. We watched the caterpillars turn into cocoons and then the cocoons turn into butterflies. We released the butterflies at the end of the semester, so I'm assuming they're good guys or endangered in some way.



On Jul 30, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A pretty little butterfly with a wingspan of up to 2".

found throughout the US and southern Canada.

The caterpillar is velvety black with black spines, narrow yellow-green crossbands and white spots on the sides. It feeds on the foliage of composite flowers, especially everlastings and forget-me-nots


On Jul 27, 2006, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

A fairly common butterfly in Newfoundland. Adults emerge in August. Their host plant are thistles so they are the good guys in my books! I grew an Onopordum (Scotch Thistle) last year and they devoured it....oh well, at least the thistle was good for something.