Wave upon wave

Wave upon wave of butterflies are flying over Johannesburg.

Driving to work over the last few days I have seen swathes of these butterflies flying from west to east. They seem to prefer purple flowered plants like lavender.

This year they seem to be more prolific and everyone is commenting. They are the most common butterfly in South Africa.

I found a good article from 2014 with more information than most. The butterfly is the Belenois Aurota or commonly called the Brown Veined White Butterfly and is endemic to the Karoo and Kalahari. They lay eggs on the Shepherds tree and then start their emigration in a north-easterly direction. It is not a migration as the journey is one way. They lay eggs along the way and need to stop every 20 minutes for nectar so that they don’t dehydrate.

They can be seen flying all across the country joined by a few yellow and orange butterflies. They then reach Mozambique and carry on towards Madagascar. The cloud sometimes reaches a kilometre up into the sky. They provide food for other insects and birds which can be seen following them.

Do you know how to tell if a butterfly is sleeping?

The feelers are touching.

You can check out an article here >>> Times Live

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