I hadn’t seen this butterfly all year until to my delight I came home from work this afternoon and found it flying around my garden and feeding on my Buddleia. Quite a large and distinctively marked butterfly. It has a wingspan of up to 90mm.
The caterpillar feeds mainly on thistles, but also mallows.
It flies April to October in two or three broods. Found in almost any habitat, including parks and gardens. They breed throughout the year in North Africa and migrate in huge swarms northwards through southern Europe in the spring. It cannot survive the winter in any form in Britain or Europe for that matter, except possibly the far south in Spain. Far ranging migrant, and very common.
Photographs of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii), taken on August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.