Butterflies swarm eastern Australia in large-scale migration

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Caper white butterfly, Belenois java teutonia, pale form, female, feeding on naturalised weed Crownbeard, Verbesina encelloides, Central Queensland, Australia (Photo by: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)

A caper white butterfly appears in Central Queensland, Australia. Photo by Auscape/UIG via Getty Images

Caper white butterflies are fluttering through southeast Queensland, Australia, in a large-scale migration, according to Australian media reports.

The Brisbane Times reported “hundreds of millions” of butterflies are migrating west of the Great Dividing Range, which is the third-longest stretch of mountains in the world, in order to lay their eggs and find food. It is not uncommon to see butterflies around this time of year in Queensland, but a migration of this scale only occurs every six to 10 years, according to The Courier-Mail.

Brisbane butterfly farmer Ross Kendall told The Courier-Mail that a substantial amount of rainfall occurring in the West increased the number of butterflies in the migration.

Dr. Chris Burwell, senior curator at the Queensland Museum, told a local Brisbane station that warm conditions, in addition to rain, encouraged the butterflies’ mass breeding. Burwell also pointed to wind conditions as having enabled the butterflies to travel farther than usual.

The Caper White butterflies are mostly white, but have distinct black veins running through the wings and around the edges. Bribie Island butterfly breeder Ray Archer told the Brisbane Times that the butterflies each lay 60 to 100 eggs on caper bushes, and that, once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars then devour the plants.

Burwell said that the “butterfly migration will continue for another week but it won’t be a huge amount of time.”

Australians took to social media to convey their excitement.

#brisbanebutterflies #butterfly #mybackyard #nofilter #brisbane #qld #australia

A photo posted by Bec (@gypsy_becsta) on

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