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The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is a migratory butterfly in the family Nymphalidae which is in the genus Vanessa. It is one of the most widespread butterflies in the world and occurs on every continent except the Antarctic.
Having over wintered in North Africa, this species migrates north and arrives back in Southern Europe in early spring. It then gradually progresses further north and recolonizes the rest of Europe over a number of generations, reaching the extreme northern part of the range by July. In the autumn, it migrates south at higher altitudes where higher wind speeds greatly assist this southerly movement to its overwintering areas.
In the rest of its World range, similar spring and autumn migrations are undertaken but as is the case in Europe there are small sedentary populations in the tropical parts of its range.
Alternatively known as the Thistle Butterfly and the Cosmopolitan Butterfly in North America.
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