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.