Painted Lady for Kids


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Painted Lady

Description: The familiar Painted Lady is raised from caterpillar to butterfly by thousands of school children every year. Males and females have boldly patterned black wings with bright orange stripes and markings toward the body, and white markings toward the ends of the wings. The hindwing has a row of five black spots. The body is brown. In North America, the Painted Lady is often called the Cosmopolite or the Thistle Butterfly. The Painted Lady has a wingspan of about 8 centimeters (nearly three inches).

Range: The Painted Lady is found throughout the world’s temperate zones (and some tropical zones), in every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It may be the most widespread butterfly in the world. They can be found in virtually any habitats, but are especially numerous in flowery mountain meadows. They migrate from the south to the north in late spring and may be present in most areas from March to October. In desert climates, they may persist year-round.

Life Cycle: Female Painted Ladies lay tiny pale-green eggs on thistle, mallow, or hollyhock leaves. When the larva hatches they immediately begin feeding for five to ten days before pupating (forming chrysalis). The larva (caterpillar) quickly grows and turns a blackish color with long spines on its body. During this time it progresses through four instars (periods of time between moltings). The larva will soon become less active and hang upside down in a "J" formation from a twig or branch, attached by a silken string. A green chrysalis will form around the caterpillar. In seven to ten days metamorphosis will become complete and the butterfly emerges. Upon its emergence, the butterfly will remain still while blood pumps to its newly formed wings. In a few hours, it will gain the ability to fly. After emerging from the chrysalis, the butterfly has a life span of about two weeks, during which it will feed on the nectar of several kinds of flowers including cosmos, blazing star, ironweed, thistle and clover before mating. Three or four generations (flights) of Painted Ladies may be produced in a single year.

Watch the Metamorphosis


Learn More About: Butterfly Anatomy | Butterfly Life Cycle



Butterflies Activities


Butterflies Home

This is the main index page for the crickets section.

Virtual Butterfly Garden

Virtual Butterfly Garden Game

This fun game allows students to create nine of their own butterflies, release them in one of five habitats, and catch them with specialized butterfly nets (challenging!)



Use your addition or subtraction skills to help the caterpillar "mathemorphosize" to a beautiful butterfly. Each time you answer a math problem correctly, your caterpillar will chew up a leaf and get larger. If you keep answering questions correctly, your butterfly will form a cocoon (chrysalis) around itself until it bursts out as one of four different kinds of butterflies.


Butterfly Interactive Scavenger Hunt

Use my animated butterfly book to answer ten questions. Immediate feedback is given!

Butterfly story

Paper Wings Picture Story

This is a beautiful story about the the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. This story comes with lots of activities!

Reading Comprehension

Butterflies Reading Online Comprehension

This is an interactive, online reading passage with five multiple choice questions. Immediate feedback is given and students can print out achievement certificates.

Printable Reading

Butterflies Printable Reading Comprehension

This is a printable version of the online reading comprehension exercise.

Cloze Reading

Butterflies Cloze Reading

This is an interactive cloze reading exercises. Students must use the words from the word bank to complete the butterfly-themed passage. Immediate feedback is given.

Word Search

Butterflies Word Search

Find as many cricket-themed words as possible in this challenging, online word search.


Butterflies Jigsaw

This is a fun, customizable online cricket jigsaw puzzle perfect for any age.


Butterfly Profiles

Monarch Butterfly
Painted Lady
Painted Lady
Blue Morpho
Luna Moth
Atlas Moth