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Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site

/ The Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site

The Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site

This is a web site to coordinate observations of territorial behavior, migration, life history, population studies, seasonal variations in abundance and body size, and number of broods per year (voltinism) of butterflies in the genus Vanessa, including Vanessa atalanta, V. cardui, V. virginiensis, V. annabella, V. tameamea, and V. kershawi. (Red Admiral, Painted Lady, American Lady, West Coast Lady, Kamehameha Butterfly, and Australian Painted Lady).

Although the lady butterflies of the genus Vanessa are not as familiar or as well-studied as the Monarch (Danaus plexippus), their behavior and migration are likewise well worth observing. Much remains to be discovered about their habits and how their behavior and seasonal distribution varies by geographic location. Observers and experimenters ranging from casual to serious can discover new and valuable information about these butterflies. The list at the left links to more detailed information, including summaries of published findings and methods for observing these fascinating butterflies.

Royce J. Bitzer, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Room 10 Genetics Building, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011 U.S.A. (515) 451-9057 e-mail: mariposa@iastate.edu
Rebecca Christoffel, Department of Natural Resources Ecology and Management, 103 Science II, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011 U.S.A. e-mail: christof@iastate.edu

This site was most recently updated on April 22, 2015.

Updates

The menu items under migration and perching/territorial behavior were rearranged, and a paragraph was added at the beginning of "Observing Migrating Butterflies" to distinguish between casual and more detailed ways of watching and reporting migrating butterflies.  In other words, you don't necessarily need to do everything on this page to report a sighting for the map - often a short note of which way you saw them flying is just fine.

--Royce Bitzer, April 21, 2015

West Coast Painted Lady Migration Underway

Painted Ladies have been seen migrating northward in southern Oregon for perhaps the last two weeks.  Two reports from Klamath Falls, Oregon were received on March 30 and 31, 2015.  This migration may be continuing from an earlier migration observed from February 16-25 in the vicinity of Los Angeles, California.

--Royce Bitzer, April 2, 2015

2012 observations are being entered into the database.

A large backlog of observations from the enormous Red Admiral migration of 2012 is gradually being added to the map and database.  These had been received as e-mailed reports when our previous database had been offline for some time.  They are being entered in order by observer.  In other words, I'm entering all the sightings I received from one observer in 2012 before moving on to the sightings from the next observer on the list.  It may take a while, but once these sightings are all entered, the map will certainly be a very impressive and useful record of the 2012 migration!

--Royce Bitzer, April 3, 2015

Red Admiral

Painted Lady

American Lady

West Coast Lady