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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

01 September, 2010

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

This time last year Painted Ladies were everywhere. At one point back in late May 2009 Butterfly Conservation were estimating over 2 million were coming in across the Channel every day! This year I have not seen one as yet!

The Painted Lady is an immigrant species, the eggs and larva that are laid in the Autumn by those that come to our shores each year cannot survive the British winter. Each year is different with some years hardly any coming and other years quite a lot and this is born out by the remarkable difference between last year's influx and this year 's dearth.

The Painted Lady is a close relative of the Red Admiral and the markings are incredibly similar; it is just the Painted Lady has delicate shades of orange and brown whereas the Red Admiral is, of course, boldly marked in red and black.

There is still time, of course, for them to put in an appearance this year but it looks unlikely. It is sad to think last year's great hordes of will have laid so many eggs and none of them survived our winter to hatch this spring.