Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Case of Mistaken Vanessa

Red Admiral? Or painted lady?

It's a long and winding road, this beginning journey of trying to learn the various butterflies of my area of upstate New York.
My Vanessa
By a vote of two to one (my guest photographer chimed in, as did her sister and, Dorothy,  a knowledgeable  blogger in Texas), I am changing the identification of this butterfly I blogged about recently from "Red Admiral" to "Painted Lady".  Thank you, all who helped me.
My guest photographer captured this Painted Lady on a zinnia earlier in the fall
Turns out both Red Admirals and Painted Ladies are part of a genus of some 22 butterflies called Vanessa, distributed widely all over our world.  The Red Admiral is Vanessa atalanta (named such in 1758) and the Painted Lady is Vanessa cardui - also named by Linnaeus in 1758.

So, what now?

How about a show of the marigolds without the butterfly?  As it happens, marigolds are the very first flower I ever tried to grow - when I was around eight, in my apartment in the Bronx.  Perhaps, one day, I should blog about that attempt. 

I figure, it took me years to be able to identify flowers (and I don't have a strong botanical knowledge of them), so it is going to take a while.  For example, is this butterfly I photographed on a butterfly bush back in August a silver spotted skipper?  Can I pronounce "Epargyreus clarus"?  Oh, Latin.

My head hurts.

And, what is the best way to learn about butterflies, anyway?  Is there a good book, or video, or something on You Tube, that would help a beginner past the "yikes, too much to learn" phase?

Looks like I may have a retirement project, for that day when I finally retire.  All because of a case of mistaken Vanessa.

Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost


  1. Huh. Just looked at the picture I took of Vanessa Atalanta years ago and the blogger is right. Not that I would remember exactly what it looked like, lol.

  2. That which we call a rose ... the butterfly is beautiful no matter what name you call it.

  3. Beautiful shots. Good luck on your butterfly education.

  4. When I want to know what a critter is, I post it online. You're a stronger person than me to try to identify all the flora and fauna.


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