Fauna Flora Photography

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

The Painted Lady is one of the most widespread butterflies, except Australia, South America and Antarctica, and can be spotted usually in warmer areas but migrates North in Spring. Migration patterns are erratic, so that the species doesn’t appear abundantly every year in the Montreal area.



Common Names

EnglishPainted Lady
SpanishVanesa de los cardos


SpeciesVanessa cardui

How to Identify

To identify this species, a ventral view is necessary as the series of smaller spots on the hindwing is a distinguishable characteristics if compared with similar species like the American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis).

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) - Parc des Rapides - 2017-09-23
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) - Parc des Rapides - 2017-09-16

Where and When to Spot

They appear in waves, passing through an area on their migratory pathways, but not regularly every year. I observed them in autumn 2017 in Rapids Park Lachine. You may want to subscribe to our Facebook page. I will notify when I see them.

Last updated on 2024-05-01. Written and regularly updated by Karl-Heinz Müller, Dipl. Natw. ETH, Biology. With 10 years of experience in wildlife photography, Karl-Heinz shares first-hand, on-site collected observations, photos and videos from his frequent visits to parks in the Montreal area.