Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

27 April

Painted lady butterflies inhabit every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Although they live in warmer climates, they often migrate to colder regions in spring and fall, making them the butterflies with the widest distribution of any species.

The painted lady exploits over 300 recorded host plants with larvae feeding on Aster species.

There are two or three generations in Canada, appearing first in May from the south, followed by locally emerging specimens that are seen from June to October. This butterfly does not normally overwinter in Canada, or even in the U.S., except possibly in the extreme southwest. However, a very fresh specimen was seen by PWH on 30 April 1983 at Ottawa, almost certainly one that had emerged from a pupa, following an unusually mild winter … presumably something similar happened with this specimen.