This week’s Country Corner is from Barry Prater of Butterfly Conservation. Barry writes...
One of the butterflies which is a migrant and comes here each summer is the aptly-named Painted Lady.
Large quantities of adult butterflies fly north each year from breeding grounds in North Africa and other hot areas to distribute themselves throughout much of Europe, including Scotland, although we usually see fewer than places further south.
The best places to look for the Painted Lady are dry, open areas such as coastal dunes, grasslands and heaths, where they can often be found on thistles, which provide both food in the form of nectar and a place for the female to lay her eggs. The caterpillars feed on the thistle leaves and create small tents out of leaves held together, these getting larger as the caterpillar grows.
Unfortunately, the butterfly cannot survive our winters and when autumn approaches, a reverse migration back to Africa happens. It appears they navigate using the sun as a compass, flying quite high at 200 to 400 metres above the ground, helped by strong following winds.
You can follow the arrival of Painted Ladies by visiting www.butterfly-conservation.org/
You can also add any sightings you make and help build up the picture of where this beautiful insect has been seen.