Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)
Appearance: Unmistakable. Upperside orange with black markings; fore wing tips black with white markings. Four black subterminal spots on the hind wing, three of which usually have a blue centre. Underside marbled and quite variable.
Wingspan: 4.2–4.8 cm.
Season: Several generations all year round.
Range: Throughout Australia except for the far north and the arid regions of NT and WA.
Habitat: Wide variety of habitats. Migrating individuals can be found almost anywhere.
The Australian Painted Lady is a very common and widespread species that can be found all across Australia (including TAS) with the exception of the central and northern areas of WA, northern and western NT, and far northern QLD. Like its famous cousin, the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), the Australian Painted Lady is a known migrant. The butterflies can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including gardens and parks. They can often be seen resting on the ground or feeding from flowers. During warm and sunny weather, they are very alert and will usually fly up when being approached.
The Australian Painted Lady can easily be distinguished from the very similar Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) through the four black subterminal spots on the upperside of the hind wing, three of which usually have a light blue centre. The Painted Lady, in contrast, has the subterminal spots uniformly black without a blue centre. In addition, the Australian Painted Lady has the underside brown colour somewhat darker compared to the Painted Lady. However, as the Painted Lady is a very rare migrant to south-western WA only, there is no risk of confusion at all across most of Australia.