❤️iFOCUS: Painted Lady in a Bonnet

❤️iFOCUS: Painted Lady in a Bonnet

❤️iFOCUS: Painted Lady in a Bonnet - UK and Ireland : •Lead photo: Amadan •Carousel image credits: lithopian, Gem20, Whizzecco, Aldcameron, Ade, fas55, C

•Lead photo: Amadan

•Carousel image credits: lithopian, Gem20, Whizzecco, Aldcameron, Ade, fas55, CDfolia, dejayM

She gets around a lot does Vanessa cardui but Antarctica is just a little too cold for her! The Painted Lady is known for her travels and we hope to see multitudes of her this year!
If she's going to visit us, this is her season and according to very recently published research, next year just may be another "plague year".
1. Original paper: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/26/e2102762118
2. Science mag write up: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/06/rain-sub-saharan-africa-can-mean-more-butterflies-europe
3. Butterfly Conservation 2021 survey: https://butterfly-conservation.org/our-work/recording-and-monitoring/migrant-watch
4. Re "plague year" (love it!): Steve Smailes on Amadan's https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/825401/

This ❤️iFOCUS covers 2019 to end July 2021. Why? Well, 2019 was the "plague year" and the total Painted Lady observations from then until the start of this ❤️iFOCUS is just 59, enough for us all to admire and comment on, though one has no supporting photo. Amadan wins the iSpotting prize as 4 out of the 59 are his!

Bearing in mind that the total iSpot observations as at 13/7/2021 is over 300, if we just compare the significant research years (see 1. above), 2015 shows 52 on iSpot; 42 in 2009, the year iSpot launched; and confusingly, 1 observation in 2006 at https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/31789/ - added November 2010!

Before looking at Vanessa cardui's spectacular migrations, we should perhaps first ponder on what's in a name, especially one so feminine. The more astute iSpotter might already have wondered about the ❤️iFOCUS title but I'm not going to spoil your own enjoyment of reading this short article at: http://nebula.wsimg.com/b01522ec7112c05794cb655d8038b3d1?AccessKeyId=2C10720F709673650816&disposition=0&alloworigin=1
Suffice to say I found no evidence myself but please advise if you see things differently!

The Painted Lady is a long-distance migrant, a feat causing the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland following their flight from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia before reaching mainland Europe, and Britain and Ireland. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility plots the journey here: https://www.gbif.org/species/4299368
The butterfly is an irruptive migrant, meaning that it migrates independently of any seasonal or geographic pattern, covering a lot of ground, up to 100 miles per day during migrations and capable of reaching nearly 30 mph: https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-painted-lady-butterflies-1968172
It is an extremely adaptable butterfly and can prosper in suburban, agricultural, swamp, bog, marsh, tundra, taiga, desert or dune, chaparral, forest, rainforest and scrub forest, as well as mountain habitats and has been found at all elevations during migration: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Vanessa_cardui/

There's a bit of cloak and dagger to the migration though. The journey is undertaken in relays, one butterfly pausing and quickly reproducing, moving from egg to butterfly in eight weeks before its offspring continues the trip. But hey, I'm not belittling this one iota: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/29/lifestyle-choice-worlds-cosmopolitan-butterfly-butterflywatch-painted-lady

I suspect many iSpotters watched the BBC film on the fantastic Painted Lady journey a few years ago. Here's a short clip but be warned, there's an overload of sound effects: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00cnsjw
Another clip from the same programme on the radar tracking used: https://vimeo.com/208983078

Hopefully, some iSpotters reading this ❤️iFOCUS will recall the iSpot Forum thread of 2019, still available, still useful and still interesting, here: https://forum.ispotnature.org/t/painted-lady-butterfly/857

❤️What now?❤️: please keep an eye out for Vanessa cardui this year and share your observations on iSpot to get on the map!; then look through the Observations List via the tab to enjoy and:
• if you can add an agreement, please do
• if you want to comment on an image or observation, please do
• if you want to add more links below, please do
• and finally, compiling an ❤️iFOCUS is fun; please choose a topic you know well or one you want to research a little and give it a go!

Please volunteer to prepare an iFocus – support is available!
PLEASE see the ❤️iFOCUS GUIDE for details:

16 Jul 2021