Home The Butterflies of Gloucestershire Species Habitats Conservation

Painted Lady

Vanessa (Cynthia) cardui
7 August 1976 24 July 1976


The Painted Lady is a migrant species which may be seen in almost any habitat, including gardens and town parks.

Its favourite larval foodplants for egglaying are various Thistles (Carduus and Cirsium species). These may often be found growing in large numbers on grazed grassland and field margins.

Conservation Issues

No significant conservation issues here, because the species does not survive the British winter. The Painted Lady is very common in North Africa, and spreads northwards across Europe every year. In some years it is quite scarce here but it can be extremely common, as in 1996 which accounts for well over 80% of the records made from 1995 to 1999.

Perhaps the main conservation issue about this and other migrant species is the fact that their presence in great numbers (or in other years their very low numbers) diverts public attention and concern from real conservation issues. Such as the continuing loss of the type of habitat required by our scarce resident butterfly species and many other forms of wildlife.

Flight Period

The earliest migrants arrive in April. Most of the sightings are made in June, and when that generation's descendents emerge in late July and August.


Anywhere in the area