Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Painted Ladies Migration


October 5, 2017

Amy Votruba

A painted lady rests on a flower.

Have you noticed an abundance of flying creatures in the area? It is the typical time of the year for the "Painted Ladies" butterfly migration. It seems there are a higher number of them this year, probably due to a great summer season of breading that boosted the population. These beautiful creatures have been seen around Pine Bluffs in great numbers this last week.

Painted ladies, commonly mistaken for monarch butterflies, are considered a cosmopolitan species that are found across the continental U.S. This time of year the butterfly makes it way to Arizona, New Mexico and northwestern Mexico to enjoy the winter months.

Painted ladies identified by the black and white corners of its mainly deep orange, black-spotted wings. It has five white spots in the black forewing tips and while the orange areas may be pale here and there, there are no clean white dots in them. The hindwings carry four small submarginal eyespots on the dorsal and ventral sides. Those on the dorsal side are black, but in the summer morph sometimes small blue pupils are present. They have a wingspan of 2-3.5 inches. The life span of a painted lady butterfly is two to four weeks.


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