Five fun facts about painted lady butterflies
1. The painted lady isn't picky.
Unlike many butterflies that have certain host plants that they lay eggs on and that caterpillars eat --- the monarch butterfly host plant is milkweed --- the painted lady has been noted to have more than 100 host plants. Caterpillars will eat thistles, hollyhocks and legumes. It is sometimes called the thistle butterfly because it likes thistles.
As an adult, the butterflies enjoy nectar from many different flowers too --- thistles, asters, blazing star, ironweed, Joe pye weed and more.
2. They're found around the world.
Painted lady butterflies aren't limited to the U.S. or even North America. In fact, they are found on all continents except Australia and Antarctica. It is the most widely-distributed butterfly in the world.
3. Painted ladies are tougher than their name sounds.
Painted ladies migrate seasonally and can fly up to 100 miles per day at nearly 30 miles per hour. They don't stay in cold regions during the winter, but you might see them later in the season than monarchs because painted ladies can migrate so quickly.
4. They live in silk houses.
Some caterpillars like to stay covered as a protection. For instance, red admiral caterpillars live in the shelter of folded leaves. Painted ladies weave a tent-like structure from silk, and you can often see these fluffy shelter on thistles.
5. Painted ladies have good camouflage.
Although they are bright orange, white and brownish-black on top, painted ladies are a mottled brown when their wings are closed. It helps them to easily blend into their surroundings.
Six facts about viceroy butterflies
You see a black-and-orange butterfly flitting around, but it looks too small to be a monarch butterfly. This butterfly has very similar markings, except for the black line across its hindwing. What could it be? It’s a viceroy! 1. Viceroys are mimics. Viceroy butterflies mimic monarch butterflies, and it was long thought that was because Read More »Read More
10 facts about red admiral butterflies
We’ve noticed a lot of red admirals lately. They might not be as big or as flashy as monarchs, but these little orangish-red and black butterflies are really neat. Here are 10 things that make red admiral butterflies (Vanessa atalanta) unique: 1. They like stinging nettle. We’ve all reached down to pull a weed and Read More »Read More
A butterfly’s bilateral symmetry
The line of symmetry is the imaginary line that divides something into two exactly equal and opposite parts. These two parts mirror each other; you can fold the figure in half and the two parts match exactly. Take a look at a monarch butterfly. Notice how the wings are identical but opposite; they are an Read More »Read More
Make a coffee filter butterfly
It’s not any surprise that we love butterflies at the Dickinson County Nature Center. We also love butterfly crafts! This coffee filter butterfly is one that we made at the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival. It’s simple, but kids really love the colorful creations they can make. Plus, you can glue them to a magnet Read More »Read More
Create your own butterfly mask
This mask was the hit craft of the 2017 Bee & Butterfly Festival. Whether you missed the fun or want to make new masks to wear at home, this butterfly mask is the perfect afternoon craft. First, download the butterfly mask template and print it on cardstock or thick construction paper. We used colored cardstock just for Read More »Read More
How do monarch butterflies find their way south?
Those wonderful orange-and-black butterflies that we love so much. They fly overhead this time of year, and we know they are headed to their overwintering sites outside of Mexico City. But how do they get there? Plenty of studies have been done throughout the years to try to figure out how a brain the size Read More »Read More