That Bothersome Name: Painted Lady

Painted Lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

I must have seen them all most young life, in not yet all-built Brooklyn, New York, then in Queens, New York and later in Long Island New York. Unlike some, I didn’t own field guides, nor did I work to learn butterfly names, but, I’m sure in saw Painted Lady butterflies those first 2+ decades.

I was in my 50’s when I earnestly went out and sought butterflies. It grabbed me, with the intensity you feel when you begin reading a book that you immediately love, and almost cannot put down. Butterflies provided so much fascination for me, there were so many of them and there’d be no “I did it!.” That could never happen because I knew I’d never have the time or money or inclination to climb rocky peaks to see all of the butterflies of the USA.

Painted Ladies were among my early favorites. They were numerous around the state parks near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and they would always come out to sunny spots on trails to ‘greet’ me. They were my sometimes trail buddies.

Like many brushfoot butterflies, you couldn’t distinguish males from females? Not in the field you couldn’t. That brought up the bothersome thought of the name chosen for these brave butterflies: Painted Lady. How I grew up was you had to be able to “handle yourself” on the streets (give it and take it), cry? never. Someone bothers your brother or sisters, you take care of that. Someone “calls you out” in school, you meet them after school, never within sight of the school building or the schoolyard, and you do what you do. No ‘millennial’ Jeff, you had to be tough, or kind of stay in your house . . .

I’ve thought often of who it was that named the male Painted Ladies such? These Leps are tough little wild animals, and I’ve always thought they never deserved the name that they got. You must forgive me if you have another opinion here. Mine is etched in my brain, vital it was for survival. Mine was not the Father Knows Best childhood.

You  can stop wondering about this handsome Painted Lady. Jeffrey Glassberg cites them as the “planet’s most cosmopolitan butterfly.” Found on every continent, they are all nearly identical. This one was met in Ramat Hanadiv, near the Mediterranean Sea in the HolyLand, Israel.

Jeff

Guess The State?

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

This Painted Lady Butterfly is placidly sipping the sparse (?) nectar dribbled out by these low lying blooms.

Where are we?

Pennsylvania? Barbara Ann?

Georgia? Virginia? Kelly? Phyllis?

Vancouver Island? Peggy?

The Lower Rio Grande Valley? Javier? Mike?

Ohio? Angela?

Nevada? Aileen?

Texas? Joanne?

Colorado? Patti?

South Carolina? Marcie?

West Virginia? Elisse?

Florida? Mimi?

Answer? Mt. Hermon, Israel.

The take away from this? Painted Ladys are considered to be the most universal of all butterflies, found on all continents. This one here mirrors all the others, with very subtle differences.

Jeff

 

Chasing American Ladies

Painted Lady Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Back from those 4 exciting weeks in Israel, Painted Ladies greeted me almost everywhere. They escorted me along trails, and, identical to their American Painted Ladies, brought a comfortable connection to home.  Now, seated a my desk/desktop computer, with a thunderstorm’s bruising winds outside, this American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) assures that north american butterflies are drop dead gorgeous, and await me. Await my travel, and are ready to tease and tantalize my Macro-camera lens.

So many goals were met in 2016, Zebra heliconians, Juniper hairstreaks, Little metalmarks, Bog coppers and Eastern pygmy blues among them. Nancy, John, Virginia, Phil, Sylbie, Mike and Barbara Ann were my enablers, and I continue to extend my gratitude to them.

This 2017, with a grandson born to my daughter just 3 days ago (Aviva and baby boy Werner are now safely home, and well, Thank Y-u!) now sings the siren song to me, to get in the Tundra and maybe even board a plane or two, if the buck$ allow. Trips in the works? Georgia and Ohio. Trips possible?? Maine, Texas, Nevada and Vancouver Island, and ???

What’s that song about Lucky Boy?

Jeff

The Truth About Painted Ladies?

Painted Lady Butterfly at Raccoon Creek State Park

We are always learning. Today I was very impressed with one of our most personable butterflies. Painted Ladies remind of that $100 word, ‘ubiquitous.’ They do seem to be just about everywhere, across these United States. Sure they are not seen everywhere everyday, but . . . they show up here, there and just about everywhere, at some time or another. I see them regularly when I travel to Israel, confirming for me their special status: the most widespread of butterfly species, around the entire world!

What did I learn today? Well, if you live in Ohio, where are your Ladies at this moment (December it is)? If you live in South Dakota, where are they now? Georgia? California? State of Washington? Oklahoma? North Carolina?

The truth about our Painted Ladies is, that they are a migratory species. Across much of the U.S. we are in winter now. Answer to this question? They are in . . . Mexico. Mexico. When Spring ’17 begins, they fly by the hundreds of millions north, spreading across America. Comes September, progeny of the Mexican generation takes to wing, and return to . . . Mexico. How do they do that? You tell me. Vanessa cardui. Vanessa!

Jeff

Guess Where?

Painted lady butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Society for the Protection of Nature Hermon, Israel

Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania? Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida Panhandle? Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland? Jamestown Audubon Center, Southwestern New York? West Don Park, Toronto, Canada. White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona?

Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia? Yazoo National  Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi? Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

Patti’s Colorado? Lynn’s Virginia? Jerry and Rose’s secret Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge swamp? Sylbie’s Rock Hawk Preserve in Putnam County, Georgia?

Nope, SPNI’s refuge reserve in the foothills of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern tip of Israel, just several miles from murderous ISIS.

Isn’t it Amazing that Painted Lady butterflies are native to all of these places, and Central and South America and Asia and Africa and . . . Amazing.

Jeff