American Lady

Yesterday I saw three beautiful butterflies (and a toad!) in a garden I walk past almost every day so I decided to stop and observe for a bit since I had my camera with me.  Here is one of the beauties I observed.

Despite an interest in nature I’m  not very proficient at identification.  So after some time spent googling I learned this was an American Lady Butterfly.

There was some confusion in my search as to whether it was called a Painted Lady, an American Lady or an American Painted Lady.  Goodness… the student in me still wants a teacher to tell me the “right” answer…  so I was thrilled when I came across this guide to butterfly identification in Northern VA from Blandy Arboretum.  http://www.virginia.edu/blandy/clarkecountylandusesurvey/butterflyguide.pdf

It indicated that the difference between the Painted Lady and the American Lady was the presence of 2 eyespots on the lower wing of the American Lady and 4 on the painted lady.  As seen below, this one has 2.  American Lady it is!

And for one final closer look… a close crop of the photo above as the butterfly enjoys a bit of nectar.  The kids thought the eye spots on the wings were particularly “cool.”  I love the detail in the actual eye and the awesome way the underside of the wings differs from the top.

I also love that I can now identify another species of butterfly the next time my kids ask because I took a moment to stop and learn.

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