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West Coast Lady

Vanessa annabella

West Coast Lady, Vanessa annabella. Photo © by Pete Moulton

This gorgeous butterfly was observed and photographed at Rackensack Wash, Maricopa Co., AZ, USA. The image is copyrighted by Pete Moulton. Notice the clear blue centers to the eyespots on the hindwings. These are fast fliers that are more easily approached when taking nectar as this one is from Dakota Mock Vervain (Glandularia pinnatifida).

Nymphalidae -- Brush-footed Butterfly Family

Like other members of the butterfly genus Vanessa, the West Coast Lady sometimes migrates many hundreds of kilometers. As the name implies, its center of abundance is along the Pacific Coast of the United States. The caterpillars are known to use a variety of plants including mallows. It is much less common in the Sonoran Desert that the similar Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010