lady butterflies, painted ladies
A honey bee approaches a painted lady butterfly perched on a flower in a North Tustin garden on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, as swarms of butterflies invade Southern California as a result of an unusually heavy migration making its way from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest to breed, experts say. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The annual migration of lady butterflies have started and they are now filling the sky of Southern California. They are the insects which everybody likes and are also known as painted ladies. Every year they migrate from the Mojave Desert and goes to the Pacific Northwest but interestingly now their number is increasing. It seems like an outbreak. Davis Arthur M. Shapiro who is the professor of evolution and ecology at University of California said, “In 2005, we had a similar outbreak.”

“They arrived here on March 11. I thought it would have been great fun if they arrived here on March 11 again, but they didn’t,” he said. The scientists are comparing it with the 2005 incident and they are saying the cause of the increased number of population of insects is wet winters and heavy rains. Another thing is that the desert provides the perfect conditions to them so that they can lay eggs. There is a sudden increase in these painted ladies which makes us think again about the decreasing population of insects.

Painted ladies always migrate but this time everyone is noticing them because of the large number, they can fly at the speed of 25 miles per hour.

“The striking thing is they’re moving very rapidly and directionally,” said Professor Shapiro, who has studied butterfly migrations in California for more than 40 years. “So it’s almost like being in a hail of bullets.” He added, They tend not to veer from oncoming cars, which can prove troublesome in Los Angeles traffic. When the painted ladies smash into a windshield, the result is a glob of yellow, butter-like ooze. That’s the result of the butterfly’s stored fat, used to make the long journey north


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