Image: Veronique Brosseau Matossy
The butterfly begins to break through the brittle pupa head-first.
There are four species of Painted Lady butterflies, the most well-known of which is Vanessa cardui, also known as the Painted Lady. This is one of the most widespread as well as beautiful butterflies in the world (although perhaps not quite rivaling the Swallowtail butterfly in terms of aesthetic appeal). It originates from North Africa but is now found on all continents except South America and Antarctica – although the species has a limited distribution in Australia. In the US, because it is so well traveled, it is known as the Cosmopolitan.
Like the Monarch butterflies we looked at previously here on EG, the Painted Ladies can be migratory in nature. For example, in the US the butterflies migrate from the deserts of northern Mexico as far up as Canada and just south of the Arctic.