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Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Description: This species is very similar to American Painted Lady, but has four eyespots on the hindwing instead of two. It also has more pointed forewings, lacks small eyespots on the underside of the forewing, and has spots on the upperside of the hindwing that are all approximately the same size. Wingspan: 42 to 66 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Throughout Maritimes. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5B. NS: S4B. PEI: S4B.

Flight Period: Adults arrive in May and have been recorded into November.

Host Plant: A variety of species in the aster family (Asteraceae), including thistles (Carduus spp. and Cirsium spp.), knapweeds (Centaurea spp.) and burdocks (Arctium spp.).

Notes: The Painted Lady is a migrant that does not overwinter in the Maritimes. The local population depends on individuals arriving in the spring from further south. As with many migrants, their numbers fluctuate dramatically year to year. Like American Lady, it is found in a wide variety open habitats and frequently visits flowers. It is most common in coastal areas visiting thistles in August and September.