What kind of butterflies are included?
The common name is Painted Lady. The scientific name is Vanessa cardui.


What is the lifecycle of Painted Lady butterflies and how long does it take?
There are four stages in the lifecycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult. It takes about 3-4 weeks to go from egg to adult. The caterpillar takes about 3-5 days to hatch from the egg and then will eat and molt (shed its skin) for another 10-12 days, growing hundreds of times its original size. Once it pupates (becomes a chrysalis), it will take another 8-10 days until the butterfly emerges.


How long will my butterflies live?
An adult Painted Lady butterfly typically lives 3-4 weeks in the wild. With proper feeding, you can keep your butterflies for up to a week in your Butterfly Zoo.


How many times does a caterpillar shed its skin?
Four times while eating and growing, and one more time while pupating.


How does a butterfly taste, smell, and hear?
Unlike people, butterflies taste with their feet, and smell and hear with their antennae.


Where can I find Painted Ladies in the wild?
Painted Ladies are the most widely distributed butterfly in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. They are called “Thistle Butterflies” and can typically be found in areas where Thistle is common.


What is a host plant?

A host plant is a plant that the adult butterfly will lay an egg on and that the caterpillar can eat. Some butterfly species only have one type of host plant. However, the Painted Lady caterpillar has been known to eat many different types of plants. Some of their favorites are Milk Thistle, Malva, Common Plantain, Hollyhock, Sunflower, Mallow, and Nettle.


How do I tell if the butterfly is a male or female?
The Painted Lady butterfly is a bit more difficult to identify the gender. However, there are some subtle differences. The best way to tell is by looking at the abdomen from above. The female has a larger and rounder abdomen, while the male has a straight looking abdomen.


Do Painted Ladies migrate?
Painted Ladies have been known to migrate occasionally in the spring. However, this is not a common practice for this butterfly.


How fast can a Painted Lady fly?
Up to 30 mph and about 100 miles per day (if the wind is right!).


What happens to the caterpillar after it becomes a chrysalis?
While a chrysalis, the caterpillar’s old body liquefies and then reassembles as a butterfly.


Since a butterfly is an insect, why do I only see 4 legs instead of 6?
The butterfly does indeed have 6 legs, however 2 of them are hidden and can be found tucked in near the head.


Do caterpillars have eyes?
Caterpillars have 6 eyes, however, they cannot see very well.


Since a caterpillar is an insect, why do I see more than 6 legs?
True to being an insect, the caterpillar only has 6 legs that are jointed to the body even though it looks like they have more. The other legs you see from the middle to the back are not jointed and are called pro-legs, which means “false legs.”


Does a caterpillar need to breath?
Yes, but only a little bit. The caterpillar does not have lungs but absorbs oxygen through little holes on the sides of its body called “spiracles.”


What is an instar?
An instar is the phase in between two periods of molting. For example, if the caterpillar has shed its skin once it is in the 2nd instar.


Is a butterfly a pollinator?
Yes, butterflies help spread pollen from flower to flower as it collects nectar.


How does a butterfly eat?
The adult butterfly has a special tube just below the eyes called a “proboscis.” The special tube remains curled up until the butterfly needs to feed. Upon landing on a nectar source, the butterfly stretches out the proboscis to suck up nectar.


Are Painted Ladies native to my area?
Yes, Painted Ladies are the most widely distributed butterfly in the world. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.