Painted Lady Butterfly
Scientific name: Cynthia cardui
The Painted Lady has a wingspan of about 57mm. The upper side of the wings are pale orange with dark brown splashes and a few white spots towards the points of the forewings. The underside of the hindwing has a mottled pattern in shades of brown with a row of five eye-spots.
They are distributed worldwide, but the butterflies found here are migrants arriving from Southern Europe and North Africa from late April onwards, using the sun to navigate and make some of the longest journeys on the planet for migrating butterflies. They can have up to three generations from June to October after which they migrate southwards in swarms. Any remaining perish in the cold weather.
The female lays eggs on thistles, nettles and a few other plants where the caterpillars go through several instars as they feed on the host plant. They are grey or black with yellow stripes along the side and they draw the leaves together with silk as protection.
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