Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle

Understanding the Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted lady butterfly collecting nectar-the-painted-lady butterfly-life-cycle
Painted lady butterfly collecting nectar

History of the painted lady butterfly

The painted lady butterfly  (Vanessa cardui) is a member of the family Nymphalidae this garden beauty has colors of pale orange to the upper wings, blacktips are on the forewings marked with spots that are white. Rows of black spots can be found on the hindwings, and blue eyespots which are pale can be found on their undersides.

During springtime, a vast number of the painted lady butterfly migrate northward across the Mediterranean from Africa to Britain and even Europe traveling thousands of miles. These butterflies are known to mate through all seasons including the winter months mating while even migrating.

The painted lady butterfly defends itself either by camouflage or taking flight. The main predators of larva or caterpillars of these butterflies are ants, wasps, birds, and spiders these butterflies have a short life span of 2 weeks. Below we will be taking a closer look at their short lifespan including other facts.

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The natural habitat of the painted lady butterfly

The natural habitat of the painted lady butterfly includes flower meadows, countrysides, clover fields, sunny places, disturbed areas, roadside, and dry open areas.

The life cycle of the painted lady butterfly

The painted lady butterfly undergoes several short stages egg, larva, pupae, and adult in less than a month then their life cycle is over.

1. The female lays eggs singly on the host plants, the eggs are barrel-shaped with a mint green color.

2. In about 3-5 days the eggs hatch.

3. The larva which is also the caterpillar has 5 instars over a 2 weeks period or thereabout.

4. In about 9-10 days the pupae which are the chrysalis goes through another stage.

5. At the end of this stage, a beautiful adult butterfly emerges.

6. As stated above the painted lady butterfly lives 2 short weeks after reaching adulthood before it dies.

Attracting the painted lady butterfly into your garden

To attract the painted lady butterfly to your garden do as follow.

1. Look for a sunny area to install their favorite plants.

2. Install plants in masses or clusters.

3. Their favorite plants are nectar-producing which are.

3. Installing a shallow dish of water with sand will provide them with the minerals they need.

4. Create a small mud puddle in your garden. To create a mud puddle ensure that the small portion that is chosen is constantly moist. This puddle station will not only provide them with water but with minerals.

5. Adding a few rocks will help them to rest when they are not collecting nectar.

6. A bowl of overripe fruits will be a real treat for them as they feast upon them.

13 fun facts about the painted lady butterfly

1. The painted lady butterfly can be found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

2. These butterflies can travel up to 100 miles per day.

3. The painted lady butterfly will go through all 4 stages in less than a month.

4. All butterflies taste with their feet.

5. Unlike other butterflies, the larva or newly born butterfly cannot eat foods right away.

6. The tongue of this butterfly is known as the proboscis through which it drinks nectar.

7. The painted lady butterfly is of medium size.

8. When raising these butterflies indoors it’s said that the female can lay hundreds of fertile eggs.

9. Butterflies breathe through their wings.

10. These butterflies seek warmer climates during the winter months.

11. It’s said that adult butterflies live for about two weeks.

12. They also go by the name of the thistle butterfly because this plant is their favorite.

13. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

Additional information

The painted lady butterfly
The painted lady butterfly

1. As I always say in my other posts on butterflies don’t use harmful pesticides that will kill the adult butterflies and their larva.

2. Watering plants from the ground or soil leave will safeguard against knocking the larva of the plants along with saving water.

3. Watering and fertilizing plants will keep them thriving and healthy-looking. Before fertilizing read and follow the manufactures direction.

4. Adding 2-3 inch layers of mulch around garden plants offer these benefits.

5. Don’t kill caterpillars because you may be getting rid of the painted lady butterfly larva.

6. The presence of evergreens and rocks will absorb heat.

7. It’s a known fact that butterflies are attracted by colors so using a lot of their favorite plants with flowers that are colorful will draw them to your garden like a magnet.

8. Releasing good bugs into your gardens which are known as beneficial insects will eliminate garden pests the natural way.

The final word about the painted lady butterfly

The painted lady butterfly is a garden beauty that will have your garden area buzzing with activity as you watch them in their natural habitat. What I love about these garden types (wildlife gardening) is providing a home for these beneficial insects helping to bring balance to the ecosystem. So give nature a helping hand by doing just that, you will be so happy that you did and the painted lady butterfly will love you for it.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

6 thoughts on “Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle”

  1. How informative, I never even heard of this kind of butterfly before and to know that I can try to ‘attract it’ to my garden is new hand helpful to me. I adore butterflies in general ad what they represent. I wonder why they are not found in Australia or Antarctica could it be the weather or something else? Do you know.

    • Hello, butterflies are amazing little insects that can bring any garden settings to life. As far as I know, the climate plays an important part in how well animals and insects adapt.

  2. Hi, Norman.
    Thanks for sharing the information on the lifecycle of painted lady butterfly. So many amazing facts about a butterfly we never knew. It was fun to inform my daughter that this butterfly has a life of one month,  has taste buds in the legs and breath through wings. The credit goes to you. Now she is very curious to learn more and bookmarked your page.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    • Hello, I am so happy that you like my post and shared it with your daughter. Nature can be so exciting especially when you learn about their body parts and how they function along with watching them in their natural habitat. Butterflies can cause a garden to come to life with their colors and activity.

      It is so good to hear that your daughter has and interest this is a great way to teach children about the wonders of nature the contribution they make and what we can do to preserve them. Thanks again and have a good day.

  3. Painted Lady Butterfly. When released in early summer, will the butterfly remain near plants provided? This butterfly lives about 2 weeks, do they remain in area with plants and flowers?
    We have received conflicting information that the butterfly will fly south during colder months, if released and hatched in June, would it not live out its life in our garden for the next few weeks?

  4. My friend has a Painted Lady Butterfly. It can’t fly because it’s wings are not
    symmetrical. He and his daughter have been feeding it orange slices and
    watermelon. It has lived for six weeks. Not bad for a butterfly with a two week


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