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.