The painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly is the winner of today’s photography challenge. This butterfly is also known as the cosmopolitan butterfly since it is almost global in distribution (with the exceptions of Australia and Antarctica).

Side view of a painted lady butterfly

Another name is also the thistle butterfly, as one of the plants it favors is the the thistle.

An almost overhead picture of the painted lady buttefly

I’ll admit that these aren’t the best picture I’ve gotten of a painted lady butterfly, as they always seem to know when I’ve got the camera focused on them and they will then close their wings.

This is another butterfly species that migrates in the fall to warmer climates (mainly northern Mexico) for the winter as it doesn’t hibernate or go dormant like some other butterfly species.

The butterfly feeds off the nectar of flowers from various plants including thistles, clover, and others.

The life cycle of the butterflies is up to about two months (from egg to adult), so butterflies that hatch in the warmer regions during the winter months will be the ones to migrate back to the cooler areas in the spring. The adults towards the end of summer and early fall will start the migration back south, so that they hopefully can avoid any cold temperatures that would be detrimental to the species.

One goal is going to be trying to maybe get a picture of the caterpillar stage of the painted lady.