The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is a medium size butterfly having a wing-span of about 55-60 mm, in family Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies). I have already posted some pictures of Painted Lady Butterfly. Today I'm going to share the pictures of four stages of painted lady butterfly life cycle. Observing and documenting the different phases of a butterfly life cycle is really a fun.
Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle
EggsThe Female painted lady butterfly lays pale green eggs on the upper surface of the host plant leaves. The eggs are laid individually and hatch in about 4 to 6 days. The host plants in our area are milk thistle, Canadian thistle and common mallow.
Painted Lady Butterfly Eggs Pictures
Larva/CaterpillarWhen the caterpillar hatches, it eats the egg shell as its first meal. Then it stars eating the leaf of host plant upon which the egg had been laid. The caterpillar passes through four different instars before pupation. This stage takes about 10 days to complete.
Painted Lady Butterfly Larva/Caterpillar Pictures
Pupa/ChrysalisAt the final molt the caterpillar crawls to a safe place and hangs upside down from a branch or leaf with the help of silken thread. In about 24 hours the skin splits down the back and a grayish-pink color pupa/chrysalis appears, which then turns golden. On maturity the pupa become transparent and the wings of butterfly become visible. The pupa takes about 7 days to metamorphose into an adult butterfly.
Painted Lady Butterfly Pupa/Chrysalis Pictures
Adult ButterflyWhen the butterfly emerges from the pupa, its wings are wet and folded. In about 10 minutes the wings open and become straight. Then it needs about an hour more to dry and harden the wings. In drying process it does not open wings, so I had to disturbed it to take an open wings shot.
Newly Emerged Painted Lady Butterfly
Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)