|Copyright: Calin Ciotlos (blackasmodeus) (104)|
|Date Taken: 2009-06|
|Camera: Canon 350D, 18-55mm|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2010-07-15 4:15|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The aptly named Painted Lady wears splashes and dots of colors on her wings. The adult butterfly's wings are orange and brown on the upper side. The leading edge of the forewing appears black with a prominent white bar and smaller white spots. The underside of the wings is markedly duller, in shades of brown and gray. When the butterfly sits at rest with wings folded together, four small eyespots are noticeable on the hindwing. Painted Ladies reach 5-6 centimeters in width, smaller than some other brush-footed butterflies like the monarchs.|
The Painted Lady caterpillars are more difficult to identify, since their appearance changes with each instar. The early instars appear worm-like, with light gray bodies and a darker, bulbous head. As they mature, the larvae develop noticeable spines, with a dark body mottled with white and orange markings. The final instar retains the spines, but has a lighter color. The first few instars live in a silken web on a leaf of the host plant.
Vanessa cardui is an irruptive migrant, a species that occasionally migrates without regard to geography or season. The Painted Lady lives year-round in the tropics; in cooler climates, you may see them in spring and summer. Some years, when southern populations reach large numbers or weather conditions are right, Painted Ladies will migrate north and expand their range temporarily. These migrations sometimes occur in phenomenal numbers, filling the skies with butterflies. The adults that reach the colder areas will not survive the winter, however. Painted Ladies rarely migrate south.
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