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Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui)

This species is found on all the major continents in the world.  But being widespread doesn't make it common:  in North Carolina, for instance, they are absent most or all of any given year.  In early fall 2003 they made a brief migration through North Carolina, and are apparently coming through here again in late August 2005.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) showed up in the North Carolina Aquarium flower garden at Fort Fisher, New Hanover County, on 10/12/03.  It's a little wrinkled, suggesting it's fresh out of the chrysalis. Durham, 10/2/03, dorsal view. Same butterfly, ventral view. NC Zoo Butterfly Garden, Asheboro, Randolph County, NC, 10/31/04. Durham, NC, 9/30/03. Durham, 8/20/05

 

Durham, 9/6/05. Also Durham, 9/6/05, but farther down the road.  You can see significant wing pattern differences. Painted Lady, Duke Gardens, 9/17/05