Family: NYMPHALIDAE (Brushfooted Butterflies)
The Painted Lady has a wingspan of about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (5 to 6 cm). The upper side is orange and black, and the underside is rose pink with black and white patterning and four eyespots on its hindwing. The shaggy body and adjacent wing surface are tan.
Range and Habitat
The Painted Lady is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world, which is reflected in one of its common names, Cosmopolite. Hostplants for the spiny caterpillars are diverse, ranging from composites to Boraginaceae, Malvaceae, Fabaceae, Verbenaceae, Rosaceae, Polygonaceae, Apiaceae, and Rhamnaceae--making them easy to rear. Nectar plants are also diverse, with a preference for thistles.
They survive through the winter in the southwestern United States, Baja
California, and Sonora. Farther north, the first frost destroys the
populations and might stimulate some to migrate south for the winter, but
this does not happen regularly.
Related or Similar Species
Two closely related and very similar species in our region are Vanessa annabella, the West Coast Lady, and Vanessa virginiensis, the Virginia Lady.