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Painted Lady Butterfly
- Region 1
- Region 3
The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is a well-known colourful butterfly, sometimes known in North America as the Cosmopolitan. This butterfly has a strange pattern of flying in a sort of screw shape. Painted Lady Butterfly Distribution
It is one of the most widespread of all butterflies, found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. In Australia, V. cardui has a limited range around Bunbury, Fremantle and Rottnest Island. However, its close relative, the Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi, sometimes considered a subspecies) ranges over half the continent. Other closely related species are the American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), and the West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella). Painted Lady Butterfly Migration
The Painted Lady occurs in any temperate zone, including mountains in the tropics. The species is resident only in warmer areas, but migrates in spring, and sometimes again in autumn. For example, it migrates from North Africa and the Mediterranean to Britain in May and June, but having produced offspring they then die in the Autumn. Painted Lady Butterfly Relationship with humans
Painted Lady butterflies are raised in many pre-school classrooms to demonstrate the life cycle of a butterfly. Naturally, this is one reason they are so popular amongst children. They are also often found in science fair projects. Painted Lady Butterfly Life cycle
The egg takes 3 to 5 days to hatch. The eggs are tiny, as tiny as a sugar crystal. They are green and can be observed best with a magnifying glass. The caterpillar takes 711 days to turn into a chrysalis. At this stage the caterpillar eats a great deal of mallow and other types of plants. Before entering its chrysalis, the caterpillar will molt several times because of how quickly it grows in such a short period of time. The molt appears as a black speck, what looks like dirt, near the caterpillar. Many people believe this to be the excretion of the caterpillar, but it is truly the molt (the skin the caterpillar has grown out of). It takes 711 days for the chrysalis to turn into a butterfly. The painted lady butterfly travels around 1000 miles in its life. Its wing span is 2 inches. The painted lady caterpillar is black with spiked skin. Painted Lady Butterfly Host plants
The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of host plants of the families Asteraceae, especially Carduus crispus (as implied by the species name cardui Latin for “of the thistles”). Also, Boraginaceae, Malvaceae (especially hollyhocks and dwarf mallow Malva neglecta), and a number of Fabaceae are eaten. The adults drink nectar from a variety of wildflowers and cultivars, more commonly the favored thistle, butterfly bush (Buddleja), asters, Tickseed sunflowers (Bidens) and zinnias.
Painted Lady Butterfly
: Hollyhocks, Sunflower.
Region 1: Oregon, Washington, Southern British Columbia.
Region 3: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Southern Alberta, Southern Saskatchewan, Southwest Manitoba.