The Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) is a common migrant that visits the Netherlands every yaer in alternating numbers .
The adults are acive from April to October . Larvae can be found from May to Ocotber  but the late larvae will cannot overwinter and will die.
The larva develops in a spun webby nest with an exception for the last instar that roams freely on the plant.
I reared the species inside the house from the third instar on. The development took nineteen days with a short pupal stage of nine days.
The primary host plants of the species are 
- Cirsium arvense
- Cirsium vulgare
- Urtica dioica
Besides those the larvae have also been observed on the following plants 
- Achillea millefolium
- Artemisia vulgaris
- Arctium minus
- Borago officinalis
- Carduus crispus
- Carduus nutans
- Cirsium palustre
- Echinops exaltatus
- Echium vulgare
- Symphytum officinale
- Malva sylvestris
- Onopordum acanthium agg.
- Pulicaria dysenterica
In the garden the larvae has been observed on the following host plants:
- Common mallow (Malva sylvestris)
The eggs are yellow-green with white longitudinal ribs.
The species has five instars, i.e. molts four times, befor the prepupal and pupal phases.
All instars have five pairs of prolegs.
The crochets of V. cardui larvae, at least for the fifth instar, are arranged in two transverse bands of one row (uniordinal) .
The first instar has a green-grey color with relatively long black hairs on flat black warts, and a black head.
The second instar looks similar to the first but bigger and with a few pale yellow spots dorsally.
The thirs instar is black with thorn-like warts on each segment. Either all warts on a segment are pale yellow, or the middle one is pale yellow and the rest black.
The warts have sturdy black hairs.
The fourth instar at first looks similar to the third but larger. During it’s development the warts become whiter in colour with an orange base (limited to the dorsal warts). Furthermore the hairs become whiter in colour. It’s body becomes covered in light-yellow specks with clear yellow stripes dorsally and ventrally.
The fifth instar looks similar to the fourth, but it is bigger and all characteristics are better defined and developed in color and shape.
ReferencesError: reference post not defined2 Vlinderstichting.nl, "Vlinders", De Vlinderstichting
4 Treadwell, L., 1996, "An Itroduction to the Identification of Caterpillars"