Painted Lady has a wing span of 50-60 mm. It is easy to recognize, and
there are almost no variations. The orange colour might be blurred by
dark "scales". In rare cases are the circular spots in the seams of the
back wings larger and blue in the middle.
Lady arrives (to Denmark) from North Africa in May-June or
(infrequently) in April. Danish descendants fly from late July until
beginning of October. As a migrating butterfly it is seen everywhere
and breeds in all sorts of open areas. In the migration periods it is
often seen in large numbers in flower-rich spots along the coast.
cannot overwinter in Denmark, neither as a grown-up butterfly nor as
egg, caterpillar and chrysalis. In North Africa, from where the Danish
migrators origin, flies the Painted Lady all year and propagates
especially in the winter period.
caterpillar's fodderplants are thistles (Carduus and Cirsium) and many
other composites and nettle (Urtica) and several other low plants.
flight is quick and whirring, and in the migrations the Painted Lady
might appear in hundred- thousands or in millions. It is attraced to
many various flowers, especially Eupatorium (named bonesets, thoroughworts or snakeroots), thistles and buddleias in gardens.
frequency is variable, depending on the arrival from the south. The
Painted Lady might completely fail to come in some years - and most
years it is only seen in few numbers. In Denmark it arrives in large
numbers in average every 10th year. It was extremely numerous in 1988
and 1996. Seen and found all over the country.
Source: Michael Stoltze: Dagsommerfugle i Danmark, 1997.
The Painted Lady in other countries: Wikipedia