COMMON NAME: Painted Lady Butterfly
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Vanessa cardui
Pictured with the Painted Lady Butterfly is a Johnson Grass (Sorghum halepense) seed head and the flower head of the Saw-leaf Daisy (Grindelia papposa).
In this photo, you can see it feeding on the nectar of the flower.
Compare the Painted Lady to the American Painted Lady. The two are of the same genus (Vanessa) and they look nearly identical. The pattern on the dorsal (top) side of the wings is a little different, however, the most obvious distinctions are on the ventral (bottom) side of the wings. The Painted Lady has four circles and a splash of orange; the American Painted Lady has two circles and a splash of pink/coral.
A few details from Wikipedia’s Painted Lady page:
Range: Found on every continent except Antactica and South America.
Habitat: Usually sunny, brightly lit, open environments, often attracted to open areas of flowers and clovers. Adults will spend time in small depressions in the ground on overcast days.
Migration: Resides in temperate zones, but may migrate in the spring. Migration patterns are very erratic, largely depending on whether events.
Diet: Adult butterflies feed on flower nectar and aphid honeydew. Females oviposit (lay/place their eggs) on plants with nectar which is immediately available to the adults even if it is not an ideal plant to house and feed the larvae, which is unusual among many butterflies. Observational data indicates that the Painted Lady favors quantity of offspring over quality.
Other: This species is very popular among children. They are commonly used for teaching purposes in schools to teach young children about the life cycle of butterflies.