Greetings from this lovely Painted Lady butterfly living near Wood Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness!

This beautiful butterfly may look familiar to you, and for good reason: they are quite common, even around the world. They migrate from Mexico all the way to Canada just below the Arctic circle and are also found around the globe, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. In fact, because of this multi-national policy, this butterfly has the nickname “Cosmopolitan.” The only places the Painted Lady (Vanessa Cardui) is not found is Antarctica and Australia.

Unlike the Compton Tortoiseshell Butterfly, the Painted Lady lays one egg at a time, on the top of a plant leaf. Once the larva grows into a caterpillar, this animal loves to eat thistle. This gives it yet another name: the Thistle Butterfly. Like other butterflies, once well-fed, it wraps itself in silk, changes form, and emerges as the lovely butterfly we see in the summer here in northern Minnesota.