P is for Painted Lady

Specifically, the American Painted Lady butterfly!

You might see this beauty already. Painted Ladies migrate north in the spring from their wintering grounds in the Southwest. It’s one of the most widespread butterflies North America, so definitely look for Painted Ladies this summer. And you may need to look twice, because the underside of the wings is patterned differently from the topside.

Pretty cool, huh? Their populations vary from year to year, and scientists don’t know why. They do not migrate back in the fall, so die with the first frosts.

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American Painted Lady

We spotted a pretty butterfly and wanted to tell you what it is. Turns out, this is a tricky butterfly to identify, but we have heard that the American Painted Lady—as opposed to the plain Painted Lady or other Painted Ladies (Please, don’t ask!)—is known for having two large eye spots on the underside of the wings.

American Painted Lady

And there they are!

The row of little black dots on the top margin of the hindwing is the other clue.

American Painted Lady

Whew. I bet that’s all the longer I’m going to keep this straight!