Painted Ladies migrate across North America!


This morning, my husband and I stepped out of our house to walk our dogs, and were mobbed by Painted Lady butterflies! Painted Lady hatch-03

There were dozens in our yard, sipping nectar from sunflowers and oregano.

Painted Lady hatch-05As we walked through the neighborhood, the numbers increased. They were everywhere. Delightful!

Painted Lady hatch-02

Painted ladies are on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. (Painted Lady Vanessa cardui) Like the much more famous Monarch butterflies, Painted Ladies use multi-generational migrations. They start in Mexico, and take several generations to move into Canada, then turn around and take several generations to get back to Mexico (at least I think that’s how it works…) They do the same thing in Europe, migrating to tropical Africa. Nature Nut: Have you seen the painted ladies ‘invasion’? Nobody knows how they know where to go.Painted Lady hatch-11

They do this every year. Some years, the migration is bigger. And some years, like this year, the migration is enormous.

Painted Lady hatch-04

Happy to have seen it.

About coloradogeography

Amy Law is a second-generation Coloradoan with a passion for her native state. This translated into a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Colorado State University, and continues as a lifelong fascination with how people and nature interact. From family vacations in the station wagon to travel for work, she's covered the state, and everywhere she goes, she finds new things to see and ideas to explore.
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5 Responses to Painted Ladies migrate across North America!

  1. Tracy Abell says:

    Beautiful photos, Amy! Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise!

  2. Tracy Abell says:

    Also, how do you still have sunflowers in bloom? Mine are gone, gone, gone.

  3. These beauties have been so prolific this season and much to my delight. Was just thinking how many there have been but only 3 Swallowtails all season. Still, the pretty orange flitting from plant to plant is a joy to watch. Just wish they’d cooperate a bit more with some stationary posing-mine seem to dash off before I can get my camera focused on their pretty little selves. 🦋

  4. Pingback: Painted Ladies Part Two | Colorado In Depth and At Altitude

  5. Love the pics,never knew the butterflies were called painted ladies.Thanks

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