Painted Lady Butterfly

Vanessa cardui

The Painted Lady is the most widespread butterfly in the world, being found on every continent except South America and Antarctica. There isn’t a corner of South Africa where they do not occur and they inhabit every habitat, from desert to forests, including parks and gardens.

Adults have a wingspan of between 4 and 5cm, with females being slightly larger than males. The males are territorial and defend small areas of bare ground as their patch. They can fly rapidly but often only glide close to the ground, flapping their wings only occasionally, and settling often with wings spread out. These butterflies have a habit of swarming and migrating in various parts of their cosmopolitan range, also here in South Africa. Painted Ladies can be seen year round, being most numerous in spring and autumn. The larvae are raised on a wide variety of food plants.


27 thoughts on “Painted Lady Butterfly

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Die moontlikheid is groot dat ons ‘n paar verlede naweek op ‘n stap gesien het op ‘n plaas hier naby … hulle het die hele tyd voor ons gevlieg (te vinnig vir ‘n foto), maar dis die eerste keer sedert ons hier in Oos-London is wat ons skoenlappers gesien het – ek was so opgewonde!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathryn Costello

    Thank-you, I am enjoying reading about butterflies. I recently moved to a non-garden, it is fascinating planting assorted plants and watching the butterflies ‘hear’ about the plantings, and watching them start making regularly visits to my garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      A great compliment – thank you, Janet. I was blessed many times over being born in this country so rich in natural treasures, being raised by parents who encouraged curiosity, and having access to excellent books in my mother tongue!



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