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Vanessa cardui, Painted Lady

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Freshly emerged adult


Final instar larva

Description: 29-31 mm. This is an orange butterfly with Brown markings above. There are a few white spots on the forewing. Below, is brown with a intricate pattern. Sexes are similar. 


Habitat and Distribution: This is a very widely distributed butterfly. It lives in North and Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It is rarely encountered in the Keys. Records are from the Lower Keys in the fall months when the species migrates southward


Host Plant: Thistles (Cirsium sps.) and Asters (Asteraceae)


Natural History: This should be concidered a rare stray o the Keys and likely does not breed here.



Freshly emerged adult

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