Lepidoptera The Painted Lady Butterfly – Vanessa Cardui
Although the time of appearance of this butterfly generally corresponds with that of the last species, yet it is exceedingly variable, so much so that it is impossible to give any fixed period as its season. It is, moreover, very capricious with regard to its localities and its numbers. Sometimes it will turn up unexpectedly in positive abundance in certain localities where previously it had been a mere straggler; and then, for some unaccountable reason, become comparatively scarce for several successive seasons.
The upper surface of this beauty (Plate IV, fig. 4) is adorned with pale red, orange, and black, and with five white spots near the tip of each fore wing. The under side of the fore wings is marked something like the upper, but much of the black is replaced by shades of brown. The hind wings are beautifully variegated beneath with greys and browns, and have a row of eye-like spots near the hind margin.
The eggs of this butterfly are laid singly on various species of thistles, particularly the common field thistle (Cnicus arvensis), generally in the month of June.
The caterpillar, which is black above and red beneath, with yellowish stripes along the back and sides, feeds under the cover of a silken web which it constructs among the leaves. It is full grown in July or August, when it suspends itself after the manner of the other Vanessas previous to undergoing its changes.
The chrysalis is angular, coloured with brown and grey, and adorned with brilliant gold spots.
The perfect insect may be seen at large throughout late summer and the autumn, and the eggs are laid by females that survive the winter.