This week it is not a flower that dominates Sequoia Gardens, but a butterfly. It goes by the rather dull name of “The Brown Veined White”, but then I suppose, as butterflies goes, it is rather dull. What it lacks in individual impact, it makes up for in numbers. Try counting snowflakes. It seems that in sunny spells there are literally hundreds at a time, fluttering resolutely past from left to right, north-east up the valley, heading who knows where…
I remember their mesmerising passage from my youth. Like bored kids in apartments watching the cars pass, we would watch them approach from the neighbours on the left and disappear over the neighbour on the right’s yard. Sometimes for days on end, summer after summer. Always heading north-east, we thought purposefully, but today their progress might be seen to suffer from ADHD… Whereto, we always wondered…
Butterflies flutter by… In Feb 2006 there was such a countrywide profusion that they received huge press. But how scientific it all is, I really don’t know. Fact is, that it happens every year, and my Johannesburg and Sequoia lives differ by 400km… Here are some of the explanations:
This one, from our local paper, I found on the Internet. I’m impressed!
This was quoted on the net, on a wildlike discussion forum, I’m not certain from where:
The Brown Veined White (Belenois aurota) is one of the most common butterflies in Southern Africa. It is as exceedingly abundant insect, especially in open country, this butterfly has a low, fairly strong flight, which is frequently interrupted when it visits flowers and muddy puddles. This butterfly is on the wing throughout the year. Large migrations of this butterfly take place during the mid-rainy season in Southern Africa, up the east coast of Africa, towards Madagascar. As the butterfly migrates it lays its eggs on various host plants on the way.
And if you’re still reading, then you might be interested in that old (?how fast things change!) standby: wikipedia