Vanessa (butterfly)

   Vanessa, in entomology, the typical genus of the sub-family Vanessinae or Vanessidi. Antennae with the club somewhat prolonged; fore wings with a distinct projection in the hind margin above the middle, the inner margin nearly straight; hind wings generally with. a short projection in the hind margin. Caterpillar spiny. The best known species are: Vanessa atalanta ( = Pyrameis atalanta, Newman), the red admiral; Vanessa io, the peacock butterfly; Vanessa antiopa, the white-bordered butterfly, called also the camberwell beauty; Vanessa polychloros, the large, and Vanessa urticae, the small tortoise-shell. Sometimes the comma butterfly, Grapta C. album, is called Vanessa C. album, and ranked as a sixth species. Darwin notes the resemblance of the closed wings of some species to the bark of trees; but, in spite of their protective coloring, they are palatable to birds and lizards. There is a species, Vanessa pluto, in the Oligocene of Radoboj, in Croatia. The pattern of the wings has escaped obliteration. Called also Mylothritis pluto, and supposed by some to belong to the Pieridae.

Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)