Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus, 1758)
•TYPE LOCALITY. «Europa, African
•SYNONYMS: carduelis (Cramer, ); pallida Schoyen, 1881; Japonica Stichel, ; umversa Verity, 1919; inops Verity, 1919.
• RANGE. Worldwide.
• DISTRIBUTION AND VARIATION. Occurring in all regions including high altitudes up to 4,500 m a.s.l. Migrant butterflies have often been observed in glacial high-montane belts at about 5,000 m a.s.l. or even higher. This is a very active migrant, with division into subspecies probably unwarranted. Individual variation is not great but a number of aberrations have been described.
• HABITATS AND BIOLOGY. Any open landscapes from polar tundra to high altitudes (4,000 m a.s.l. or higher). Migrations over vast distances, with 2-3 generations per year, from March to October. Hibernation imaginal. Host plants in central Russia, the lower flow of Volga River, and in Transcaucasia: Carduus nutans, larvae keep solitarily in a simple nest built of leaves (Dantchenko & Nikolaevsky, in press). During an outbreak in Peter I Mts., Central Asia, larvae damaged Verbascum, Alcea, Maluaand even Solanum cultivars (Shchetkin, 1981).
Photo and text: Guide to the BUTTERFLIES OF RUSSIA and adjacent territories Volume 2. PENSOFT, Sofia - Moscow. 2000