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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui


The Painted Lady is found in any habitat, but open ground with an abundance of thistles is favoured. It is a familiar visitor to gardens. It is a migatory butterfly coming to Britain from Europe and North Africa. Numbers vary from year to year, but occasionally there are mass migrations, as in 2009.


The Painted Lady is an easy butterfly to identify due to its distinctive patterning. Fresh individuals have a salmon-pink flush which fades to pale orange with age.

Flight times

The Painted Lady has been recorded during every month of the year, but the first arrivals are usually seen in late March. These breed and give rise to a late summer generation. Peak numbers are reached in August and there appears to be an occasional return southerly migration in September/October.

Food plants

Eggs are laid singly on various species of thistle.

Painted Lady - © Simon Jenkins  picture of Painted Lady butterfly

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Painted Lady distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 80
First sighting 31/05/2010
Last sighting 10/10/2010
Painted Lady distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 89
First sighting 08/04/2011
Last sighting 15/10/2011
Painted Lady distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 41
First sighting 18/06/2012
Last sighting 14/10/2012
Painted Lady distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 217
First sighting 07/05/2013
Last sighting 08/10/2013
Painted Lady distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 256
First sighting 17/03/2014
Last sighting 30/10/2014
Painted Lady distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 505
First sighting 07/04/2015
Last sighting 30/10/2015
Painted Lady distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Painted Lady distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14

Comparison of years 2005-09 & 2010-14

No Data


Photo Gallery

Painted Lady

Painted Lady © Christine Maughan

Painted Lady

Painted Lady © Christine Maughan

Painted Lady

Painted Lady © Simon Jenkins

Painted Lady

Painted Lady © Simon Jenkins

Painted Lady Painted Lady Painted Lady Painted Lady
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