Attributes of Vanessa cardui

Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Nymphalinae
Identification: Upperside is orange-brown with darker wing bases; forewing with black apex patch and white bar on leading edge; hindwing submarginal row of 5 small black spots sometimes has blue scales. Underside has a black, brown, and gray pattern with 4 small submarginal eyespots.
Wing Span: 2 - 2 7/8 inches (5.1 - 7.3 cm).
Life History: Males perch and patrol during the afternoon for receptive females. In the West males usually perch on shrubs on hilltops, while in the East males perch on bare ground in open areas. Females lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Caterpillars live in silk nests and eat leaves. Adults hibernate only in the South and in mild winters.
Flight: One to three flights in the East from May-October, three to four flights in South Texas from October-April.
Caterpillar Hosts: More than 100 host plants have been noted; favorites include thistles (Asteraceae), hollyhock and mallow (Malvaceae), and various legumes (Fabaceae).
Adult Food: The Painted Lady prefers nectar from composites 3-6 feet high, especially thistles; also aster, cosmos, blazing star, ironweed, and joe-pye weed. Flowers from other families that are visited include red clover, buttonbush, privet, and milkweeds.
Habitat: Almost everywhere, especially in open or disturbed areas including gardens, old fields, dunes.
Range: On all continents except Australia and Antarctica. From the deserts of northern Mexico, the Painted Lady migrates and temporarily colonizes the United States and Canada south of the Arctic. Occasionally, population explosions in Mexico will cause massive northward migrations. Comments: The Painted Lady is also known as the Thistle Butterfly because of the caterpillars' food preference and also as the Cosmopolitan because it is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world.
Conservation: Not required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Taxonomy Notes:

Images of Vanessa cardui

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Vanessa cardui - Vanessa-cardui-dorsal-Queener-crop.jpg
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Vanessa cardui - Vanessa-cardui-dorsal-2-Queener-crop.jpg





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Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_carduiKsGrantJuly1-05CarolAdams-crop.jpg
Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_carduiKsGrantJuly1-05CarolAdams-cropv.jpg

Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_carduiKsGrantJuly1-05CarolAdams-cropv.jpg
Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_carduiKsGrantSept26-05CarolAdams-cropd.jpg

Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_carduiKsGrantSept26-05CarolAdams-cropd.jpg
Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_cardui2.jpg

Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_cardui2.jpg
Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_cardui.jpg

Vanessa cardui - Vanessa_cardui.jpg



The map below displays all BAMONA data for this species and has three different data layers:
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*The orange dots on the map provide access to information about the 400 most recently verified sightings of this species. Sometimes, there are several records at the same location. Use the table view to access these records.

By default, the fifty most recently verified sightings are below. Sort by Observation Date to see the most recent sightings, or filter the sightings by region to get a regional list.

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Observation Date Submitter Region Verified Datesort icon
August 12, 2012 Gerry Porter Ontario, Canada March 25, 2014 Details
March 13, 2014 John Koerner Los Angeles County, California, United States March 18, 2014 Details
March 07, 2014 kickingbird3 Napa County, California, United States March 16, 2014 Details
August 08, 2012 Gerry Porter Ontario, Canada March 14, 2014 Details
March 07, 2014 gelsja1012 Los Angeles County, California, United States March 13, 2014 Details
March 04, 2014 Robert Gorman Riverside County, California, United States March 06, 2014 Details
March 04, 2014 Greg Dean Riverside County, California, United States March 06, 2014 Details
February 19, 2014 Greg Dean Riverside County, California, United States March 02, 2014 Details
September 08, 2013 Frederike Hofstra Grand County, Colorado, United States February 24, 2014 Details
February 12, 2014 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States February 14, 2014 Details
January 31, 2014 PDunwiddie Marin County, California, United States February 07, 2014 Details
January 30, 2014 PDunwiddie Santa Clara County, California, United States February 04, 2014 Details
September 20, 2003 rogerdowner Wayne County, Ohio, United States February 04, 2014 Details
January 18, 2014 Redheart Canyonlands Bandera County, Texas, United States January 18, 2014 Details
September 02, 2013 Dick Ratliff Madison County, Tennessee, United States January 17, 2014 Details
August 19, 2013 katjalad Strafford County, New Hampshire, United States January 17, 2014 Details
November 17, 2013 Sparks7 Burnet County, Texas, United States January 07, 2014 Details
November 24, 2013 icosahedron Sonoma County, California, United States January 07, 2014 Details
January 02, 2014 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States January 02, 2014 Details
March 14, 1971 stomlins701 Bexar County, Texas, United States December 28, 2013 Details
December 06, 2013 amroth26 Pima County, Arizona, United States December 16, 2013 Details
December 01, 2013 John van Dort Francisco Morazán, Honduras December 01, 2013 Details
November 26, 2013 Robert Gorman San Diego County, California, United States November 27, 2013 Details
May 02, 2010 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States November 27, 2013 Details
November 23, 2013 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States November 23, 2013 Details
November 20, 2013 whbauer Bexar County, Texas, United States November 22, 2013 Details
November 22, 2013 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States November 22, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 treichard Imperial County, California, United States November 20, 2013 Details
November 11, 2007 Peter Homann Leon County, Florida, United States November 20, 2013 Details
October 13, 2013 anna_holmes Madison County, Alabama, United States November 17, 2013 Details
November 09, 2013 judielaine Sonoma County, California, United States November 16, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 treichard Riverside County, California, United States November 12, 2013 Details
November 09, 2013 Ralph S. Carlson Los Angeles County, California, United States November 11, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 treichard Riverside County, California, United States November 11, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 treichard Riverside County, California, United States November 11, 2013 Details
November 09, 2013 gunhilda Payne County, Oklahoma, United States November 09, 2013 Details
November 06, 2013 Robert Gorman Orange County, California, United States November 07, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 Lilacsnroses Amador County, California, United States November 06, 2013 Details
October 30, 2013 meezermeister Clark County, Nevada, United States November 01, 2013 Details
November 01, 2013 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States November 01, 2013 Details
January 24, 2013 Robert Gorman San Diego County, California, United States November 01, 2013 Details
October 23, 2013 krancmm Brazoria County, Texas, United States October 27, 2013 Details
October 23, 2013 Mapper Johnson County, Illinois, United States October 24, 2013 Details
October 19, 2013 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States October 22, 2013 Details
October 29, 1012 randimal Baja California Sur, Mexico October 21, 2013 Details
October 18, 2013 Kimberly Mrozinski Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States October 19, 2013 Details
October 14, 2013 treichard Howard County, Maryland, United States October 17, 2013 Details
October 11, 2013 systanfield Richland County, South Carolina, United States October 15, 2013 Details
October 13, 2013 Doug Bruce Hardeman County, Tennessee, United States October 15, 2013 Details
October 10, 2013 stephen stedman Gibson County, Tennessee, United States October 11, 2013 Details