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painted lady   <>   cynthia cardui   <>   ŠilleŠn


© DHardiman 2003

Family:  Nymphalidae
   The Painted Lady is widespread throughout Europe.  Its main breeding ground is in Southern Europe and North Africa but it regularly migrates to all parts of  Europe including Ireland, where it is seen especially in August and September.
It is continuously brooded.
  Rough meadows and open countryside where foodplants grow.
Larval Food Plant:     Thistles  Cardus spp.
                                                             Cirsium spp. 
                                               Mallow  Malva  
                                               Nettles  Urtica spp.     
                                               Burdock  Arctium                     
Flight Time:   June to September 
Hibernation:   They do not survive Irish winters in any stage.




   Painted Lady                    © DHardiman 2003



Life Cycle of  the painted lady


The small green oval shaped eggs mearuring c. 0.6 mm in height are laid singly on the upper surfaces of 
the leaves of the food plant, mainly thistle, in June and sometimes again in September.  Its colour changes
to a silvery-grey before hatching  in c. 7 days.

Painted Lady Ova © DHardiman

© DHardiman 


The newly hatched larva moves from the upper to the underside of the leaf  and spins a silken web over
itself  in which it feeds on the lower epidermis leaving the upper intact as a cover.  As the leaves are consumed   
it  goes on to form fresh webs.   After the third moult, it  feeds on the entire leaf until fully fed and 
then pupates.  This larval stage lasts c.25 days.

Painted Lady Larva, Ringsend, Dublin

© DHardiman 2001


Thistle                  DHardiman 2006 


The larva spins a small compact web on the thistle leaf  or stem and attaches itself  to it by its anal claspers.

 © DHardiman 2001


The adult emerges from pupation after c. 14 days.
The adults have a  powerful gliding flight and  migrants begin to arrive in Ireland from June onwards.
They are commonest in August and early September when, in favourable summers, the numbers may 
be boosted by the locally bred individuals.  

Painted Lady, Baurscoob, Co Kilkenny

© DHardiman 2003



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