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_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:
1. All records (yellow dots)   2. Recently verified records (orange dots)*   3. US county records (purple)

There are also three base layers: 1. Satellite    2. Normal   3. Hybrid

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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
September 15, 2014 fierablue Michigan, United States May 25, 2015 Details
April 29, 2015 randimal King County, Washington, United States May 19, 2015 Details
May 05, 2014 BabcockWebb Nebraska, United States May 14, 2015 Details
July 30, 2014 Benx85 Douglas County, Nebraska, United States May 14, 2015 Details
May 02, 2015 herobiscuit British Columbia, Canada May 14, 2015 Details
May 10, 2015 PJNosler Clackamas County, Oregon, United States May 10, 2015 Details
April 24, 2015 Sue Orlowski Whatcom County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
April 24, 2015 Sue Orlowski Whatcom County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
April 30, 2015 plex1ppus Spokane County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
May 03, 2015 Wscott Snohomish County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
May 02, 2015 Sue Orlowski Lincoln County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
May 02, 2015 Sue Orlowski Adams County, Washington, United States May 05, 2015 Details
May 03, 2015 John Ashley Flathead County, Montana, United States May 05, 2015 Details
April 08, 2015 KristyBaker Hidalgo County, Texas, United States April 30, 2015 Details
April 17, 2015 PDunwiddie Pierce County, Washington, United States April 24, 2015 Details
April 19, 2015 Selwyn Quan Santa Clara County, California, United States April 24, 2015 Details
April 19, 2015 MAKI Multnomah County, Oregon, United States April 23, 2015 Details
November 02, 2014 stomlins701 Leon County, Florida, United States April 22, 2015 Details
April 15, 2015 StephMoli1204 Los Angeles County, California, United States April 17, 2015 Details
April 10, 2015 CA Ivy Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States April 13, 2015 Details
September 17, 2014 Carol Thornton-Anderson Orange County, Indiana, United States April 08, 2015 Details
April 03, 2015 ezeemonee Ventura County, California, United States April 04, 2015 Details
April 03, 2015 Fakey San Luis Obispo County, California, United States April 04, 2015 Details
August 10, 1983 Indy Entomologist White County, Indiana, United States April 03, 2015 Details
March 31, 2015 Beckaroo Polk County, Oregon, United States April 01, 2015 Details
March 21, 2015 rebeccafm Los Angeles County, California, United States March 27, 2015 Details
March 15, 2015 The_Battus_philenor Butte County, California, United States March 16, 2015 Details
September 26, 2014 Dr. Dave El Paso County, Colorado, United States March 11, 2015 Details
May 07, 2014 carlysummer Adams County, Idaho, United States March 10, 2015 Details
August 22, 2014 bright Latah County, Idaho, United States March 10, 2015 Details
March 08, 2015 The_Battus_philenor Butte County, California, United States March 09, 2015 Details
October 11, 2014 Nancy Witthuhn Ness County, Kansas, United States March 01, 2015 Details
August 30, 2014 Nancy Witthuhn Ness County, Kansas, United States March 01, 2015 Details
October 06, 2014 Christinalea Texas, Travis County, United States February 23, 2015 Details
June 24, 1979 Indy Entomologist Carroll County, Indiana, United States February 22, 2015 Details
August 19, 2007 Indy Entomologist Boone County, Indiana, United States February 21, 2015 Details
August 17, 2014 rjcohrs Hancock County, Indiana, United States February 19, 2015 Details
February 16, 2015 m062070 San Bernardino County, California, United States February 18, 2015 Details
February 13, 2015 bellabutterfly Ventura County, California, United States February 18, 2015 Details
February 13, 2015 wapperdude Los Angeles County, California, United States February 13, 2015 Details
February 10, 2015 MAKI San Bernardino County, California, United States February 13, 2015 Details
November 09, 2013 tjrickert Sussex County, Delaware, United States February 09, 2015 Details
January 07, 2015 MAKI Ventura County, California, United States February 05, 2015 Details
September 24, 2014 Beverly Carter Baxter County, Arkansas, United States January 11, 2015 Details
January 06, 2015 Robert Gorman San Diego County, California, United States January 08, 2015 Details
September 27, 2014 arcturusangel Gregg County, Texas, United States December 21, 2014 Details
September 21, 2014 mmwm Glynn County, Georgia, United States December 16, 2014 Details
November 10, 2014 Nancee Cobb Harris County, Georgia, United States December 16, 2014 Details
July 10, 2014 Ken Cheeks Richmond County, Georgia, United States December 16, 2014 Details
September 17, 2014 John LeBlanc Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States December 14, 2014 Details