Australian Painted Lady - Vanessa kershawi


This page contains information and pictures about Australian Painted Lady Butterflies in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Wingspan 55mm
This is a medium size butterfly, not always seen in Brisbane. The wings are bright orange-brown in colour with black and white patterns. There are four small eye spots on each hind wings. The underside of the hind wings are pale brown in colour with grey and white patterns. 
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They have a rapid flight, usually about a meter from ground. Both female and male spend a lot of time feeding nectar on flowers. 
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The male Painted Lady Butterflies show very strong territorial habit. The males take up good positions and wait for the females, where are usually the forest edges or the sides of foot path. 
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The males rest on the ground or plants materials closed to the ground. Whenever another male come near by, they will chase them away. Usually at the same location we found the Painted Lady Butterfly, we can also found the Meadow Argus Butterfly.
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When the butterflies rest, they usually open their wings, both for sun-bathing to warm up their body and show their attractive colour patterns to their mates. 
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After sunset, the butterflies hide among leaves up on the trees and rest with wings closed. All bright colours on their wings are covered and they are hardly be noticed.
Australian Painted Lady is known a strong migrant and although mostly confined to Australia. When migrating, their flight is normally direct and swift at about 1-2 meters above ground.

Host Plants

The Painted Lady caterpillars are brown in colour with short hairs. They hide during the day in curled leaf of food plants and feed at night. Their food plants include Capeweed Arctotheca calendula, Everlastings Helichrysum and Paper Dais Xerochrysum bracteatum.
Paper Daisy
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Xerochrysum bracteatum 

1. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004, p188.
2. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005, p5. 

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Last updated: July 06, 2010.