Thursday, August 6, 2015
Painted lady, the butterfly, not the Victorian house
So, apparently, the Painted Ladies like the coneflowers, too, like the sulphurs do.
The genus name for these little beauties is "Vanessa." They are only 2-3 1/2 inches, but they are quite eye-catching.
They always have the upper corners of their wings in black-and-white, then the rest in orange and black/brown and a tan-colored fuzzy body.
I don't know the terms for all their body parts, but your local butterfly and moth nerd will know. Or any identification guide. There are great books at your library!
This butterfly is also very widespread, but unlike the clouded sulphur, it is international. It's found everywhere except Antarctica and South America.
It migrates, too, like the monarch. It migrates from North Africa and the Mediterranean to Britain in May and June, but they aren't seen on the return trip from Britain to North Africa, because they fly so high. For many years it was a mystery as to when and how they got back south, but it was due to their flying altitude.
There are some Painted Ladies which migrate in California, from one region to another, but their migrations are more erratic, depending on weather (El Nino!) and what is growing at a given time, which varies.
Another reason PLs have such good populations is because they feed from a large array of flowers; over 300 species are known to be dinner for them. They get the biggest smorgasbord!