Annual migration of millions of brown-veined white butterfly is currently underway in SA

HunterNW

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https://newcastleadvertiser.co.za/187344/annual-migration-millions-brown-veined-white-butterfly-currently-underway-sa/

According to Johan van der Walt, who wrote a blog for Wildlife South Africa about the butterflies, the migration of these butterflies affects especially the central, northern and north-eastern parts of South Africa, and depending on climatic conditions like rain and drought, their numbers differ every year.
Following them, are hundreds of insect-eating birds and dragonflies for which the slow moving, low-flying butterflies are easy prey.
Known as South Africa’s most common butterfly and occurring in most areas, the brown-veined white is also called the pioneer, pioneer white or caper white.
Of the family Pieridae, with a wingspan of about 45 mm, they originate in the dry regions of the Karoo and the Kalahari where they gather in their millions every year in December or January and take to the sky to migrate in a north-easterly direction.
 

RaptorSA

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Been popping up and down the stairs today here in Rosebank to view it from the roof.
Looks like it's snowing outside.
Pretty damn awesome.
 

HunterNW

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Drove from Rustenburg to Magalies yesterday. Saw 1000's. Today again, right infront of my workshop.
 

HunterNW

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Still want to know why they do this migration ? Why not just lay eggs and die on the spot ?
 

netstrider

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Still want to know why they do this migration ? Why not just lay eggs and die on the spot ?
Probably just nature's way off ensuring some of them become food for other creatures out there and so their population does not get out of control.
 

Nithan15

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I know someone that's literally terrified of butterflies, how I wish they were up here.
 

Ninja'd

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Probably just nature's way off ensuring some of them become food for other creatures out there and so their population does not get out of control.
Like turtles who pass perfectly fine islands to go back to where they were almost on some bird's buffet plate.
 

RaptorSA

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Still want to know why they do this migration ? Why not just lay eggs and die on the spot ?
Could be a few factors at a time but I'm not sure.
Apparently they lay eggs as they go, probably makes sense to cover a wider area to make the species more resistant to ecological changes affecting smaller areas. Some species like Cicadas also do this thing where they completely saturate predators until they can't feed anymore, leaving the rest of the insects to naai and lay eggs as they please, I'd assume this strategy is at work here too.

Combine that with the fact that apparently these butterflies need to stop and feast on -mostly- grass nectar every 20mins or so and it probably makes sense to travel over big distances for food.

Still pretty incredible though. I read somewhere they're actually on their way to Madagascar.
 

ForceFate

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Hit a few on the N4 earlier today. We enjoyed the sight way back when we were kids. Our parents would warn us against touching the wings because "once you touch them, they lose ability to fly". I assume they also looked forward to the splendour.
 

zophas

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I know someone that's literally terrified of butterflies, how I wish they were up here.
Poor soul! How can anyone be afraid of butterflies?

EDIT: Did a search and it turns out it is common to be afraid of butterflies. Lepidopterophobia.
 
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