The Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershaw) butterfly is mostly confined to Australia, although westerly winds have dispersed it to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand.

AUSTRALIAN PAINTED LADY (Vanessa kershaw) – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

This butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn.

In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly’s range, they live in the same location year-round.

Whenever they rest or stop to feed, they spread their wings out low to keep predators away. The vibrant colours and patterns advertise to birds and other animals that they are poisonous.

Butterflies also spread their wings to soak up warmth from the sun and to show off their patterns to potential mates.

These images were shot in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on 4th December 2010, resting on some Shrubby Verbena (Lantana) flowers.