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Vanessa cardui is a well-known colourful butterfly, known as the Painted Lady, or in North America as the Cosmopolitan. This butterfly has a strange pattern of flying in a sort of screw shape. In general, the Painted Lady is a large butterfly (wing span 5–9 cm) identified by the black and white corners of its mainly deep orange, black-spotted wings. It has five white spots in the black forewing tips and while the orange areas may be pale here and there, there are no clean white dots in them. The hindwings carry four small submarginal eyespots on dorsal and ventral sides. Those on the dorsal side are black, but in the summer morph sometimes small blue pupils are present in some. In Europe it migrates annually between North Africa, including Morocco, and northern Europe, using a sun compass for orientation. It was originally thought that the northward movement was a 'Pied Piper' migration, but evidence now exists for an autumn southwards return migration. As these animals are cold blooded and their life cycle does not depend on a certain number of day/night cycles, temperature can greatly effect the times presented here.. At 32 °C the entire life cycles will take roughly 16 days. At 18 °C the life cycles will take months. At such extreme temperatures one can expect some deaths. The painted lady uses over 300 recorded host plants according to the HOSTS database.

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