Lepidoptera: Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies) Next: Page 2: Nymphalidae
Danaus plexippus: Monarch Butterfly

Vanessa cardui Painted Lady. Also known as the Thistle Butterfly because of the caterpillars' food preference and also as the Cosmopolitan because it is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world, on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. 4-5 small eyespots on hindwing us (V. virginiensis American Lady has 2 large eyespots). Females lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Caterpillars live in silk nests and eat leaves. Annually migrate north in the spring, sometimes in large numbers.

Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral. Hosts: nettle family (Urticaceae) including stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), tall wild nettle (U. gracilis), wood nettle (Laportea canadensis), false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), pellitory (Parietoria pennsylvanica), mamaki (Pipturus albidus), and possibly hops (Humulus). Females lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Young caterpillars eat and live within a shelter of folded leaves; older caterpillars make a nest of leaves tied together with silk. Adults hibernate. Adults prefer sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit, and bird droppings; visiting flowers only when these are not available. Then they will nectar at common milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa, among others. Adults pictured are ups and und.

Limenitis arthemis Red-spotted Purple. Hosts: wild cherry (Prunus), aspen, poplar, cottonwood (Populus), oaks (Quercus), hawthorn (Crataegus), deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), birch (Betula), willows (Salix), basswood (Tilia), and shadbush (Amelanchier). The larva resembles a bird dropping when it sits on a leaf. Adults feed on ap flows, rotting fruit, carrion, dung, and occasionally nectar from small white flowers including spiraea, privet, and viburnum. Distinct flap and glide flight. Mimic of the poisonous Battus philenor (Pipevine Swallowtail), but without the "swallowtail".
Northern race of this species is called White Admiral and has a white band on the wings. Adult White Admirals also sip aphid honeydew. Both subspecies hybridize occasionally with other members of the genus, including the Viceroy (L. archippus). Before winter, when admiral caterpillars finish feeding for the year, they secure themselves within the rolled-up, silk-tied bases of leaves. In spring, ravenous caterpillars emerge to complete their development.