A painted butterfly (Vanessa Cardui) visiting a mammoth sunflower (Helianthus) in the garden during the early autumn in Maine.
The painted butterfly is a common butterfly also known as a cosmopolitan or butterfly of thistle.
The painted butterfly is one of the most widespread of butterflies and can be found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Central America.
Female painted butterflies are generally larger than males. The dorsal side of the wings are orange-patterned and the underside of the hindwings have five small submarginal eyespots.
Flights and camouflage are the two main defense mechanisms of the painted butterfly.
The painted butterfly feeds on a wide variety of plants, including sunflowers.