Vanessa (butterfly)

Admiral (Vanessa atalanta )

Vanessa is a genus of Nymphalidae ( Nymphalidae ) with about 20 species. In Central Europe it come the Admiral (Vanessa atalanta ) and the Painted Lady ( Vanessa cardui ) ago.

  • 6.1 Literature
  • 6.2 Notes and references


The butterflies of the genus Vanessa oberseits a series of isolated white spots on dark brown to black ground to the blade tip. On the hind wing underside runs along the outer edge of a series eyespots. In the two species V. hip Philomene and V. dimorphica from southern Africa the white spots are greatly reduced.


Assignment of species

Originally the genus, which has been referred to as the German " Eckflügler " by the peacock (Inachis io ), the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and species such as the Mourning Cloak ( Nymphalis antiopa ) and the Great Fox ( nymphalis polychloros ) formed. Today the genus formative types of Distelfalter and admirals were still the early 20th century the genus Pyrameis, Hübner 1819 assigned. This name is now regarded as a subordinated synonym. Other obsolete synonyms of this genus are Cynthia Fabricius, 1807 Bassaris Hübner, 1821 Pyrameides Hübner, 1826 Ammiralis Rennie, 1832 Neopyrameis Scudder, 1889.

In the literature, the Painted Lady Cynthia cardui is often performed with, as this and closely related species was from the 1970s to the genus Cynthia Fabricius 1807 assigned. Its caterpillar has compared to the other Vanessen a strongly divergent range of food plants, the butterfly comes from another Faunenkreis and uses no windfalls. In Karsholt & Razowski (1996 ) of the moths is associated with Vanessa again and is now regarded as Cynthia subgenus within the genus Vanessa. In experiments with several species of the genus for color pattern formation of black spots on the wings also were differences between V. atalanta, V. indica ( Indian Admiral ) on one side and V. cardui found on the other side, indicating a greater genetic difference. This was later confirmed by genetic testing.

Dimorphica V. and V. hip Philomene have a less typical appearance because the white spots are greatly reduced on the front upper wing surface and they more closely resemble with their short tails on the hind wings of the species occurring in Africa genus Antanartia. Only in 2011 was the close relationship through genetic studies identified to the genus ' Vanessa and therefore removed from the genus Antanartia.

Vanessa carye was annabella and V. carye split due to differences in the female and male genitals in 1971 by William Dewitt Field in the meantime recognized species V.. Previously annabella were regarded as a subspecies of V. carye. In 1986, Scott splitting is due to the small outward differences still doubted. Buana V. and V. dilecta are genetically very similar and in the male genitalia, which is why the species status is uncertain. It could also be an allopatric distribution of a species on Sulawesi and West Timor.

Classification of some species in the early 20th century by Adalbert Seitz and Arnold winder:

  • Vanessa V. antiopa, mourning cloak ( Seitz ) ( winder )
  • V. io, Peacock ( Seitz ) ( winder )
  • V. urticae, Small Tortoiseshell ( winder )
  • V. polychloros, Big Fox ( winder )
  • V. xanthomelas, Eastern Great Fox ( winder )
  • V. milberti ( Seitz )
  • V. cyonomelas ( Seitz )
  • Pyrameis P. atalanta, Red Admiral ( Seitz ) ( winder )
  • P. cardui, the Painted Lady From kershawi ( Seitz ) ( winder )
  • P. huntera, with the forms virginiensis, braziliensis and altissima ( Seitz )
  • P. carye ( Seitz )
  • P. indica with the shape vulcania ( Seitz )
  • P. terpsichore ( Seitz )
  • P. myrinna ( Seitz )

Some species of the genus Cynthia end of the 20th century:

Inside systematics

Due to the genetic distance of species, five groups of closely related species can be formed:

  • Basal V. carye group V. annabella (Field, 1971)
  • V. carye ( Hübner, 1812)
  • V. gonerilla (Fabricius, 1775)
  • V. itea, (Fabricius, 1775)
  • V. dimorphica ( Howarth, 1966)
  • V. hip Philomene ( Hübner, 1823)
  • V. atalanta, Admiral, ( Linnaeus, 1758)
  • V. buana ( Fruhstorfer, 1898)
  • V. dejeanii ( Godart, 1824)
  • V. dilecta Hanafusa, 1992
  • V. indica, Indian Admiral, (Fall, 1794)
  • V. samani ( Hagen, 1895)
  • V. tameamea ( Eschscholtz, 1878)
  • V. vulcania, Red Admiral, ( Godart, 1819)
  • V. braziliensis ( Moore, 1883)
  • V. cardui, Painted Lady, ( Linnaeus, 1758)
  • V. kershawi ( McCoy, 1868)
  • V. myrinna ( Doubleday, 1849)
  • V. altissima (Rosenberg et Talbot, 1914)
  • V. terpsichore ( Philippi, 1859)
  • V. virginiensis, American Painted Lady, ( Drury, 1773)

V. carye

V. annabella

V. itea

V. gonerilla

V. dimorphica

V. hip Philomene

V. abyssinica

V. indica

V. vulcanica

V. samani

V. dejeanii

V. dilecta

V. buana

V. tameamea

V. atalanta

V. kershawi

V. cardui

V. terpsichore

V. altissima

V. virginiensis

V. myrinna

V. brazillensis

Fossil and unindentifizierte types

From the Oligocene is about 35 million years old fossil amerindica Vanessa Miller & Brown, 1989 known that strongly resembles Vanessa indica. She was found in the Florissant formation in Colorado. A riddle is a picture of the British painter Henry Seymer (1714-1785) and Henry Seymer jun. (1745-1800) on. The picture shows a butterfly from its collection from Newfoundland, which does not resemble any modern North American species, but more reminiscent of V. indica. The Seymers are known for their detailed images, so it is not clear whether a representative of V. indica complex has lived a few centuries ago in North America. The moth is not obtained because the complete collection sen after the death of Henry Seymer. was destroyed.

Outer systematics

Vanessa is the sister group of the restricted to the tropical Americas Hypanartia Hübner, 1821.

Characteristics and lifestyle

Some species are migrant moths and have large areas of distribution, while others show no migratory behavior and may have small distribution areas. The caterpillars often feed on nettle family ( Urticaceae ) and weave together from leaves conspicuous leaf bags, which is usually the petiole of this leaf is chewed part of shelter and hangs down. The leaf bag is left by the caterpillar only after she has eaten so far that it offers her no sufficient protection. The moths of many species are attracted by windfalls.

Geographical Distribution

The genus is distributed worldwide and is on every continent except Antarctica before. The Painted Lady ( V. cardui ) is a migrant butterfly and comes across Europe, North Africa, Asia, North America and Australia to an altitude of about 3,000 meters before. The Admiral ( V. atalanta ) is another migratory moths and spread from North America to Guatemala, Haiti, New Zealand and in North Africa and Europe to the west of Asia. The Canary Painted Lady ( V. vulcania ) is endemic to the Canary Islands and Madeira. In Africa, V. and V. abyssinica dimorphica come and in South Africa and Madagascar comes V. hip Philomene ago. In North America, live V. annabella, V. virginiensis, South America V. braziliensis, V. carye, V. altissima and V. terpsichore. The Indian Admiral V. indica is widely distributed in Southeast Asia from India to China and Japan, in the south to Thailand. In the summer, the butterflies migrate z.T. far to the north into southern Siberia. On the Russian Pacific coast moths were found to Kamchatka Peninsula. In Southeast Asia come buana V. (South of Sulawesi, Indonesia), V. dilecta ( Timor) and V. dejeanii (Java to Sumatra and Mindanao ) ago. In Australia and New Zealand and V. V. itea live kershawi, are endemic to New Zealand and Hawaii gonerilla V. V. tameamea.

Origin of the name

The name of the genus comes probably from the female name Vanessa. There are also suspicions that it is a variant of Phanessa, a Greek deity is. However, this is unlikely since Johann Christian Fabricius, which has named this genus, normally used the original form of mythological names, which in this case would Phanes. Winder believed that it is from the Greek ' Ψανή (gloss), because of the beautiful coloring of the species derived.

Kynthia is an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis (Roman Diana ), Greek " (s) from Mount Kynthos Coming ", the Latin spelling is Cynthia.

Pyrameis is derived from the Greek proper names Pyramus.