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Described in one guide as “the most cosmopolitan butterfly in the world,” the Painted Lady is an autumn delight in southern Arizona. It is a medium size butterfly, about two inches across. Its population seems to vary in size from year to year. In some years Painted Ladies are hard to find and in others, like this year, they are common. It’s actually been two years since I saw any of this species.
This butterfly belongs to a fairly large group of butterflies that fall under the generic heading of “brushfoot.” There are several species within that group that come with the common surname of “Lady.” The Painted Lady may have gotten its name because someone thought that its wings resemble an abstract painting, although, to me, they look more like Tiffany glass than like a painting. Whatever, it is among the most beautiful butterflies that we see in the Tucson area. I photographed this one feasting on sunflower nectar at Tohono Chul Park on Tucson’s west side.
Image made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens+1.4x telextender assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f13 @ 1/160.