Millions of butterflies making migration stopover in Cyprus
23 Mar 2019, 22:57 ( 27 days ago)
Millions of multicolor Painted Lady Butterflies are making a migration stopover in Cyprus these days on their way from the hot Arabia peninsula to cooler habitats in the Balkans and areas of the Mediterranean, an environmentalist said on Saturday.
"An estimated 25,000 butterflies are estimated to arrive in Cyprus every hour," said Elena Markitani of the Cyprus Wild Life organization.
Butterfly migration has been noted for centuries, but the number of these lepidoptera migrating this year in the region of the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean is especially marked, for reasons which are not fully understood.
The Lady Butterflies had been originally observed on Thursday gathering on the coastal regions of Israel. Israeli Lepidopterists alerted their Cypriot colleagues about their impending arrival on the eastern Mediterranean island.
A small number of butterflies was noted in areas of Cyprus on Friday morning, with their numbers going up as they progressed.
Markitani said that the butterflies start their journey from Saudi Arabia to seek cooler habitats for the summer months. Several thousand stay on the island to breed, but most travel even northern to Turkey, Greece and other Balkan countries.
Painted Lady butterflies are known to make long trips within a single generation, unlike the Monarch butterflies which migrate from Mexico to California once in their lifetime.
Painted lady butterflies have a wing span of five to nine centimeters and their colors are mostly orange tinted, with black spots.