Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

Habitat

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.

Identification

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
Painted Lady - © Simon Jenkins.

Distribution Maps

2005-2009
Painted Lady distribution map 2005-09
2010-14
Painted Lady distribution map 2010-14
2015
Painted Lady distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 505
First sighting 07/04/2015
Last sighting 30/10/2015
2016
Painted Lady distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 439
First sighting 09/03/2016
Last sighting 31/10/2016
2017
Painted Lady distribution map 2017
2017 Summary
No of tetrads 435
First sighting 24/03/2017
Last sighting 24/10/2017

Photo Gallery