Over the past few days, South Africa has been lively with so much buzz about the beautiful white butterflies that have been spotted dancing their way through the streets. The breath-taking sight of the white butterflies is quite captivating as the magnificent creatures move in masses as they migrate. They passed through Gauteng, Free State, and the Northern Cape. The white butterflies South Africa made the cities beautiful as they brightened the day.
Interestingly, these creatures are the most common in South Africa. The flattering creatures have been spotted in Namibia and Mozambique as well. Here are some fascinating facts about the beautiful white butterflies in South Africa you should know.
What is a white butterfly known as?
They are referred to as the brown-veined whites (Belenois aurota) and are originally from the Kalahari. They are also known as the pioneer, caper white, or the pioneer white. Some of them are also from the arid regions of the Northern Cape. According to Dave Swart, Butterfly Valley owner in Ramsgate, he says that most of these species do not make it to their destination. However, a number of them are spotted in the coastlines of Mozambique while others perish into the sea.
The species is from the Pieridae family and has a wingspan of 45 mm. The figure of the white butterflies migrating depends on the availability of food in their area of origin. This is because it determines how the butterflies pupate and lay their eggs as they migrate.
Are there white butterflies in South Africa?
They are in South Africa’s north, north-eastern areas, and the central areas, and just a few days ago, the fascinating butterflies lit up the South African skies. The sad part of the migration is that they don’t make it to the end of their journey as they are preyed on by dragonflies and insect-eating birds.
When do the white butterflies South Africa migrate?
The migration takes place every year, at the end of January, during mid-summer. However, the numbers in each migration vary as a result of factors such as temperature, drought, and rains. Once they cross the Northern Cape, the North West province, and parts of the Free State, they find their way to Gauteng as well as parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
According to Johan van der Walt, the migration takes place during the summer when they start a northeasterly direction. He continues to say that the move should not be termed as migration, but an emigration as the creatures only end up dying at the end of their journey.
What is the lifespan of the white butterfly?
According to the Director of Conservation of butterflies in South Africa, Earle Whiteley, the species lives up to four weeks and six weeks, if the conditions are favorable. After every flight of about 20 minutes, which is between 30 to 45 kilometers, they feed for about four minutes to regain their strength and continue with their migration journey.
He also reveals that there are various flights of migration for the insects. He states that the same butterflies would never make it to their destination.
There are three migration flights that start from various areas from the west coast, the misconception is that the butterflies fly the whole distance by themselves, which is impossible because they’d never make it.
During their migration, the males mate with the females, and the males move ahead. The female laying eggs follow behind, which paves the way for the next generation of the beautiful creatures to start a new migration phenomenon later on.
Many people posted pictures and videos on social media platforms to express their awe of the beautiful creatures that filled up the city.
White butterfly Instagram posts
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Over the last couple of years, the white butterflies South Africa migration has become a phenomenon that most South Africans look out for in the mid-summer. However, the rare species is becoming extinct as most do not survive during the migration. This is the reason why the affected areas need to be repopulated to ensure that the species are re-established in other regions.