|Painted Lady Vanessa
(aka Cynthia cardui)
The Painted Lady is one of the most common
butterflies in the world. The ones found in Europe are immigrants
from North Africa and the Middle East.
Some years there are very large influxes to the British Isles and 2009, when photos 1 to 3 were taken, was one of these years. It is estimated that one weekend in May about 28 million Painted Ladies crossed the Channel into England.
|Because the caterpillar can
tolerate quite low temperatures, it can be found in more
northerly latitudes than most butterflies. It is the only
butterfly to be found in Iceland and photo 4 was taken on the
island of St Kilda in August 2003.
Eggs are normally laid on thistles and the caterpillars emerge to eat the thistle leaves.
|Several generations of
Painted Lady can occur in Britain over a summer and I think that
the butterfly in photo 3 is a newly emerged second generation
because the colour is salmon-pink rather than the orange-brown
that is acquired with age.
There is more information available at UK Butterflies.
|To find out more about the Painted Lady long distance migration involving several generations in the one journey see this article.
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