Friday 16 August 2013

Fresh Painted ladies

It has been almost four years that I haven't seen a Painted Lady, but today I had a nice surprise when I spotted one, high on the buddleia, amongst the dozen or so Peacocks that are so abundant these days. Painted Ladies are warmth-loving butterflies, unable to survive our winters, so before the cold sets in, they will migrate to the Mediterranean. This generation is the offspring of the butterflies that migrated to the UK in the spring, from southern countries, as far as Morocco. They arrived, mated, laid eggs, and the caterpillars fed on thistles, with the new generation being the fresh painted Ladies that will migrate south. Painted Ladies have mass migration years, in which they are much more numerous than usual, and these years appear to coincide with warm summers when Hummingbird Hawkmoths and Silver Y moths also migrate in large numbers to the UK. The last mass migration year was in 2009.
 If you see Painted Ladies, you can contribute to the research into their migrations reporting your sighting to Butterfly Conservation Migrant Watch Survey.
  See previous posts on Painted Ladies in BugBlog.
The intricate patterns of the underwing of Painted Lady

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