Painted Lady

Vanessa Cardui

Family Nymphalidae
  • Colouring – Orange wings with small black markings, and black and white tipped wings.
  • Life span – Flies from North Central Africa, travels through Europe and flies the whole length of the United kingdom, regenerates itself two to three times as it moves north, then the third generation flies back to Africa.
  • Immigrant
  • Caterpillar colour – Mostly black.
  • Food for the caterpillar – Various plants, nettles, thistles.
  • Food for the butterfly – Common nettle, buddleia, cultivated plants.
Special features

Painted Ladies can fly north up to 100 miles a day depending on the weather, speeds of up to 30 mph. Morocco: Painted Ladies fly from Morocco to escape the Cortasi wasp. Sadly, this wasp lays its eggs inside the live bodies of the caterpillar. When the Cortasi eggs hatch they eat the Painted Lady caterpillar from the inside of their body, killing the caterpillar in the process. The Painted Lady is camouflaged when their wings are closed.