Overview

Brief Summary

North American Ecology (US and Canada)

Vanessa annabella is a resident of the western United States and southwestern Canada and is migratory in some parts of its range (Scott 1986). Habitats are open areas and suburbs. Host plants are herbaceous, and include species from families Malvaceae and Urticaceae (and perhaps others). Eggs are laid on the host plant singly. Individuals overwinter as adults. There are variable numbers of flights each year depending on latitude, with many flights all year in the southern part of their range, two flights in the Rocky Mountains, the first in midsummer, the second in the fall, and one flight in higher mountains (Scott 1986). Some sources consider V. annabella a subspecies of V. carye (Scott 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Comprehensive Description

General Description

Most similar to the Painted Lady (V. cardui), but annabella has an orange spot in place of the large white spot two-thirds up the leading edge of the forewing of cardui; annabella is also smaller. There are no named subspecies. 
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Distribution

Southern British Columbia and Alberta (occassionally straying to eastern Saskatchewan) south to northern Mexico (Layberry et al. 1998, Opler 1999). This species was once considered to be a subspecies of V. carye, which occurs in South America south to Argentina (Scott 1986).
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Ecology

Habitat

Meadows, fields and pastures, most likley to be found in the southwestern corner of the province.
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Trophic Strategy

The larvae are known to feed on stinging nettle (Urtica dioica, Urticaceae) and garden hollyhock (Alcea rosea, Malvaceae) in BC (Guppy & Shepard 2001). Almost all other host records are in the Malvaceae (Scott 1986).
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Adults feed on flower nectar and manure (Scott, 1986).
  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press.
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Cyclicity

Alberta records are primarily from late July to early October.
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Life Cycle

The pale green eggs are laid singly on the host plant (Scott 1986). the mature larvae can vary in colour from light brown to black, and bear yellow branched spines (Layberry et al. 1998). Like the American and Painted Lady, annabella occurs occasionally as a migrant in Alberta (although never as abundant as the Painted Lady can be). Layberry et al (1998) state annabella is a resident in southwestern Alberta and British Columbia, but all evidence suggests that it is not able to survive the Canadian winters and appears as a spring colonist from further south (Bird et al. 1995, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vanessa annabella

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.

Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

TGAGCAGGAATAGTAGGAACTTCTCTTAGTTTATTAATTCGAACTGAACTAGGAAATCCAGGATCTTTAATTGGAGAT---GATCAAATTTATAATACAATTGTAACAGCTCATGCTTTCATTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTTATACCAATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGTAATTGACTAGTTCCTTTAATATTAGGAGCCCCAGATATAGCTTTCCCCCGTATAAATAATATAAGATTTTGACTTTTACCCCCTTCATTAATATTATTAATTTCTAGTAGAATTGTTGAAAACGGAGCAGGAACAGGATGAACAGTTTACCCCCCACTTTCATCTAATATTGCTCATAGAGGATCATCAGTAGATTTAGCAATTTTTTCCCTACATTTAGCTGGAATTTCATCAATTTTAGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTACTACTATTATTAATATACGAGTTAATAGTATATCTTTGGATCAAATACCTTTATTTGTATGAGCTGTAGGTATCACAGCCTTACTTCTTTTATTATCTCTTCCTGTATTAGCTGGAGCTATTACAATACTTTTAACAGATCGAAATATTAATACATCATTTTTCGATCCCGCAGGAGGAGGAGATCCTATTCTTTATCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGTNNNNNNNNNNTTTATATTTTAATTTTACCAGGATTTGGAATAATTTCTCATATTATTTCCCAAGAAAGAGGAAAAAAGGAAACTTTCGGATGTTTAGGAATAATTTATGCTATAATAGCAATTGGATTATTAGGATTTATTGTATGAGCTCATCACATATTTACAGTAGGAATAGATATTGATACTCGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vanessa annabella

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not of concern.
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Wikipedia

West Coast Lady

The West Coast lady (Vanessa annabella) is one of three North American species of brush-footed butterflies known colloquially as the "painted ladies". V. annabella occurs throughout much of the western US and south western Canada. The other two species are the cosmopolitan Vanessa cardui (painted lady) and the eastern Vanessa virginiensis (American painted lady). This species has also been considered a subspecies of the South American, Vanessa carye, and is frequently misspelled as "anabella".

Distinguishing features[edit]

Schematic of standard wing terminology

Aside from general differences in distribution, V. annabella can be distinguished from the other two painted ladies of North America as follows:

Most conspicuously, it lacks obvious ventral eyespots on the hindwings; there are two large ones on V. virginiensis and four small ones on V. cardui. Like the latter, it also lacks a white dot in the pinkish-orange subapical field of the ventral and dorsal forewings. Its upperwing coloration has the purest orange of the three; the American painted lady is usually quite reddish.

A less reliable indicator is the row of black eyespots on the dorsal submarginal hindwing. These are usually of roughly equal size in V. cardui and lack blue centers, though the summer morph may have a few tiny ones. In the other two, usually two eyespots are larger and have more conspicuous blue centers. In V. virginiensis, these normally are the spot at each end of the row, whereas in the present species it is the two middle ones.

See also Painted Lady

Picture gallery[edit]

Note: both images are actually of Vanessa cardui, possibly with a slight amount of V. annabella genes due to interbreeding.

References[edit]

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