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Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)


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Possibly the most widespread butterfly in the world, occurring in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It lays its eggs on plants such as thistle or mallow. The yellow-green striped, purple to black caterpillar (up to 3cm) has long spines on each segment. After 5 - 10 days continuous feeding it pupates. It builds a silky, webbed nest. The adult butterfly emerges about 7 to 10 days after the chrysalis has formed. The adult butterfly is black, brown, and orange with some white spots; the underside is gray with white and red markings. It has a wingspan of 5-7cm. Adults feed on thistle and clover nectar and only live about 2 weeks. They overwinter in warmer climates migrating to Britain. Picture taken 23rd July 2006 at Old Warden, Bedfordshire.

23rd Jul 2006 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

Insect Butterfly Animal

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