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.
— Melissa Halliday (@ilubphotography) November 5, 2016
— Carol Probets (@carolprobets) November 2, 2016
can anyone in Brisbane explain why there were so many butterflies around today? It was amazing. Looked like snowflakes at times! LOL
— Carol McLeish (@CarolMcleish) October 30, 2016
Anyone else in Brisbane seeing the flurry of butterflies all around? It's so beautiful!!
— Bee (@girlmeetscraft) October 25, 2016