West Coast Lady - Vanessa annabella
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.2-2.6 cm. Forewing apex squared off (clipped), orange and black above, with lightly scalloped margins. Uppersurface of forewing with orange (not white) postmedian bar, white spots in black tip, black bar completely crossing forewing cell; hindwing clear orange with little black, 3-4 submarginal blue spots sharply ringed in black. Undersurface of forewing light brownish with pink basal half, hindwing wildly marbled in dark brown, tan, cream, with a pale to white "arrowhead" in cell, submarginal eyespots obscured.
Many flights all year in lowland California; two flights in Rockies, midsummer and fall overwintering to spring; perhaps one flight in higher mountains (Scott 1986). Mainly March to November (but all year) in southern and coastal lowlands, May to September or October elsewhere (Gassberg 2001). June to September in Colorado (Ferris and Brown 1981); late May to early October at lower elevations, mid-June to mid-October at higher elevations in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978); early March to mid-November in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002); mid-March to late October in Oregon (Warren 2005).
Best determined by a combination of forewing apex squared off (clipped), uppersurface of forewing with orange (not white) postmedian bar, black bar completely crossing forewing cell, uppersurface of hindwing with 3-4 submarginal blue spots sharply ringed in black.
Resident in lowland California, southern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico; regular or irregular emigrant to most of western US to western Great Plains, north to southern British Columbia, southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1481 m to 4206 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), to 2835 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005), 456 m to 1219 m elevation in southeastern British Columbia (Threatful 1988). In Montana, reported from most western, northern, and southern counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993); probably irregular throughout state. Rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Migratory to some degree; also disperse upslope (Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011).
Valley openings, open woodland, montane meadows, marshes, weedy vacant lots, roadsides, gardens, prairie, above treeline in alpine terrain (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).
Larval food plants include Alcea, Althaea, Lavatera, Malacothamnus, Malavastrum, Malva (several species), Sida, Sidalcea, Sphaeralcea, Urtica (Dimock 1978; Scott 1986, 1992; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Aesculus, Apocynum, Arnica, Calyptridium, Carduus, Chrysanthemum, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Dianthus, Echinacea, Machaeranthera, Medicago, Melilotus, Perovskia, Raphanus, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Scabiosa, Senecio, Solidago, Tagetes, Taraxacum, Trifolium, Verbena, Zinnia) and dung (James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves, usually on the upper surface. Egg hatch in about 4-8 days, L1 instar build silk nest in which to live and feed, L3-L5 instars form loose leaf shelters. Larvae solitary, feed in and out of nests day or night. Development from egg to pupae 15-20 days, adults emerge from pupae (eclose) in 5-11 days, about 28-36 days after oviposition; males survive 28 days in summer, several months in winter. Pupae usually suspended from leaf chamber on host plant stem or exposed on other plant twig or branch (Dimock 1978; James and Nunnallee 2011). Overwinters as larva, pupa, or adult (Scott 1979; Ferris and Brown 1981). Males territorial, perch on shrubs on hilltops or flatland openings, pursue passing objects in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Dimock 1978; Guppy and Shepard 2001).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
- Dimock, T.E. 1978. Notes on the life cycle and natural history of Vanessa annabella (Nymphalidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 32: 88-96.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
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