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.
V. cardui is one of the most widespread of all butterflies, found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. In Australia, V. cardui has a limited range around Bunbury, Fremantle and Rottnest Island.
The egg takes 3 to 5 days to hatch. The eggs are tiny, as tiny as a sugar crystal. They are green and can be observed best with a magnifying glass. The caterpillar takes 7-11 days to turn into a chrysalis. At this stage the caterpillar eats a great deal of mallow and other types of plants. Before entering its chrysalis, the caterpillar will moult several times because of how quickly it grows in such a short period of time. The moult appears as a black speck, what looks like dirt, near the caterpillar. Many people believe this to be the excretion of the caterpillar, but it is truly the moult (the skin the caterpillar has grown out of). It takes 7-11 days for the chrysalis to turn into a butterfly. The painted lady butterfly travels around 1000 miles in its life. Its wing span is 2 inches. The painted lady caterpillar is black with spiked skin.
Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_cardui - 14.12.2011