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Painted Lady © DHardiman
Painted Lady © DHardiman

As you will see below 2009 has been a very exceptional year for Painted Ladies [Vanessa cardui] with an extremely successful breeding season in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. There is also an associated influx of Large Whites, Red Admirals, Clouded Yellows and Silver Y's across Europe

Sightings  »»»

News of what is happening »»» 

What to look out for on thistle »»»

PAINTED LADY REPORTS from around the country


November 2009

October 2009

26 September

20 September

19 September

15 September

13 September

12 September

11 September

10 September

9 September

5 September

23 August

22 August

21 August

17 August

13 August

12 August


8 August

7 August

6 August

5 August

4 August

31 July

29 July


28 July

27 July

26 July

24 July

23 July

22 July

21 July

19 July

18 July

15 July

14 July

13 July

12 July

9 July

8 July

5 July

4 July


3 July

2 July

1 July

28 June  

27 June

25 June

24 June

23 June

21 June


20 June

19 June

18 June

16 June


15 June

14 June


13 June

12 June

11 June


10 June

8 June


7 June

6 June


5 June

4 June

3 June


2 June


1st June


31st May


30th May



29th May



A short summary of what is going on from Tom Brereton (BC UK):



Some news from Constanti Stefanescu in Spain:

    Yes, I was in Morocco by the end of March and was able to locate a massive emergence area of V. cardui, with an estimated number of 150000 pupae in a meadow of only 1,8 ha. I'm working on a MS with details on this source area, levels of parasitism, etc. I'll certainly send you the MS once ready. This was in the Souss valley, not very far from Agadir (south of the Atlas mountains).

    Immediately after, Painted Ladies started to arrive in Catalonia and the whole of Spain. There has been massive waves of migrants since then, mainly coinciding with depressions crossing the Mediterranean area. I had never seen something similar, and certainly BMS counts will show this with all detail.

    First migrants started to arrive in the first week of April. Since then, egg-laying has been a common phenomenon and now there are big larvae on thistles and mallows everywhere... the numbers are really spectacular! Some very fresh butterflies are becoming to be seen - so, local emergence has started already... and will continue for one month or so. In the Balearic Islands there are reports of huge concentrations of larvae, going for pupation ca. 2 weeks ago. So, there is NOW the first wave of local emergences in all this area (including Spain)... and these are the butterflies you're starting to notice moving to the north.

    I expect huge numbers of migrants for the next 4 weeks or more - probably, all this is related to the abnormal rainy winter in north Africa, which attained levels unrecorded in the last 30 years

Butterfly Conservation Europe





What to look out for on thistle

Painted Lady ova  © D Hardiman   Painted Lady ova  © D Hardiman

Painted lady eggs on upper side of Thistle. Newly laid eggs are white/green in colour, changing to black prior to hatching. 
Eggs may also be laid on many other foodplants including Common Nettle and Mallows.


Painted Lady caterpillar in larval web   © D Hardiman Painted Lady caterpillar   © D Hardiman

     Painted Lady caterpillar feeding in larval web on thistle        and     final instar caterpillar after leaving web          


Painted Lady caterpillar   © D Hardiman Painted Lady caterpillar   © D Hardiman 

Painted Lady caterpillar feeding on thistle 


J-shaped larva of Painted Lady   © D Hardiman Painted Lady Pupa   © D Hardiman

J-shaped larva beginning to pupate               and        pupa with last moulted skin (exuvia) visible


Painted Lady   © D Hardiman Painted Lady   © D Hardiman

Painted Lady butterfly nectaring


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