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Influx of Painted Lady Butterflies

 
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 425
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 11/06/09, 16:02    Post subject: Influx of Painted Lady Butterflies Reply with quote

The following is posted on behalf of Alan Kennard

Painted Lady Butterflies

Uplyme – along with most parishes in southern England – experienced the exceptional migration of these magnificent butterflies in May and early June.

These butterflies are regular visitors to Britain each summer, but very rarely in these numbers – in fact an event of a lifetime! They came in myriads but from where? Morocco and the western side of North Africa experienced a wet spring giving rise to lush vegetation; all combining for ideal conditions for an ‘explosion’ of these beautiful butterflies.

Many butterflies and moths migrate from the continent and North Africa to our shores each summer and autumn. Several factors lie behind these extraordinary movements: weather patterns, even in the upper atmosphere, high pressure systems and local conditions. Insects have the capacity to respond when conditions are ideal – hence some can be pests.

And looking forward? Painted ladies lay their eggs on thistles. If it is hot and sunny over the next few weeks we may see scores of them in late July and August with the possibility of a third generation in the autumn; so long as we have sufficient thistles to support the caterpillars.

Along with Painted Ladies we saw the Silver Striped Hawk, Bordered Straw and Silver Y as well as some smaller moths. We have not seen the Humming-bird Hawk-moth or Clouded Yellow in any numbers for two or three years. Maybe we will this summer. They all bring interest to our gardens and the countryside.

Alan Kennard
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Posts: 425
Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 11/06/09, 16:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember being on Mallorca at the end of March one year. For day after day thousands of these butterflies drifted slowly northward obviously having crossed half of the Med from North Africa on their way to the continent. As moving an experience as any that nature has to offer.
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