Painted Lady Butterfly

The painted lady is a butterfly that is found in North America and all the continents but Antarctica and South America.  It is a very popular butterfly and was once called the Cosmopolitan.

What Does the Painted Lady Look Like?

The Painted Lady has a reddish or brown upperside of its wings.  It also has black and white that take turns.  The wings also have a band around the middle of the body that is broken shaped and there are veins that rise above this.

The outside boarder of the wings is black.  The body of the Painted Lady can have some blue.  Also, the front wings and the hind wings are different, but they are mostly seen as the same colors.  ON the bottom of the butterfly, you will see blue dots that are found on the back wings.

Where Does the Painted Lady Live?

The Painted Lady is found on every continent except Antarctica and South America.

The habitat of the Painted Lady is open areas, areas that are full of flowers and clovers, in small depressions on the ground when it is overcast, but other times, areas that are sunny.


The Painted Lady will migrate to warmer areas when the weather begins to get cooler.  The Painted Lady’s that live in North Africa will migrate to Europe and those that live in the Red Sea area will go to Turkey.

The Painted Lady’s in North America will migrate to areas that have more flowering plants for them to eat from.

Finding a Mate

The Painted Lady males will not have a specific territory to find a mate but they will pick a place and a time to stop and look for a female.  They will do this by perching on hilltops or close to the edges of forests.  They will stay until they find a female.

The female Painted Lady’s will fly in circles with up to eight different females in order to attract males.  They will not fly more than 4.5 meters from where they started.

The female Painted Lady lays only one egg at a time.

What Does the Painted Lady Eat?

The Painted Lady will drink nectar from the honeydew or other flowering plants in the area.


The Painted Lady uses camouflage as a defense mechanism.

The caterpillars of the Painted Lady will hide in silk nests that are on top of the leaves and this protects them from predators like birds, ants, spiders and wasps.


The Painted Lady sees like the honey bee does and they have ultraviolet, blue and green photoreceptors.  The painted Lady’s do not see red and they are red and green color blind.  They also cannot tell the difference between orange and red or orange and yellow.


More Facts About the Painted Lady:

  • Scientists have found that the Painted Lady flies towards the rainfall.
  • People use the Painted Lady’s as memorials and in their weddings.
  • In California, there were millions of Painted Lady’s that migrated after a heavy rain in 2019.
  • The Painted Lady’s want more eggs over having eggs that are healthy.
  • The Painted Lady’s sometimes lay their eggs on flowers that are poisonous to the eggs and it can kill the eggs.
  • Most of the Painted Lady butterflies have their eggs in the fall months.
  • It is believed that the Painted Lady has a built-in solar compass which means that it uses the sun to follow the migration path.

Painted Lady Butterfly

What Did You Learn?

What is the Painted Lady?  The Painted Lady is a butterfly that is very popular.  It is found in all continents except Antarctica and South America.

What is interesting about the Painted Lady’s vision?  The Painted Lady sees like the honeybee and it is green and red colorblind.  The Painted Lady can see most colors but cannot determine between orange and red and orange and yellow.

Does the Painted Lady migrate?  Yes, the Painted Lady migrates during the cooler months.

How does the Painted Lady know which way to go when it migrates?  The Painted Lady has a built-in solar compass which means it uses the sun to direct which way it goes.

What was the Painted Lady called before?  The Painted Lady was called the Cosmopolitan before.

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