North American Ecology (US and Canada)
Vanessa cardui, the painted lady, is resident to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, south to Venezuela, the Bahamas and Antilles. It is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world, occurring also in Eruasia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere (Scott 1986). Hightly migratory, it migrates throughout the North America. Habitats are everywhere, mostly in open or disturbed areas. Host plants are mostly herbaceous, but rarely shrubs or trees, and include species from many families, especially preferring Compositae, and sometimes is a pest on Iowa soybeans (Leguminosae). Eggs are laid on the host plant singly. Individuals overwinter as adults, but only in mild winters or in the south. There are multiple flights all year in south Texas, Florida and California, with migrations many thousands of kilometers between spring to fall (Scott 1986).
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