Archive for November 16th, 2019

I was watching The One Show on BBC1 a couple of nights ago and they featured a small snippet about the Painted Ladies; our favourite butterfly.

Their arrival in the UK is awaited each year with much anticipation and there is much competition between butterfly lovers as to who will see the first one and where!

a painted lady – borrowed from the butterfly conservation website credited to Iain H Leach

I remember some years ago, quite some years ago, I was working in Suffolk, right next to a farmers field surrounded by hedgerows and trees.

It was Painted Lady season and to my delight it was one of the best years for their numbers and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly there were thousands of these exquisitely ethereal creatures alighting on every branch, along every hedge and flowers everywhere. A plethora of fantasy as far as the eye could see.

The interesting thing about these butterflies is of course that they are a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonising mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland.

Now, in my ignorance I assumed (mistakenly) that it was the same individual butterfly that started it’s migration, flying hundreds, if not thousands of miles across land and sea and then arrived here, to our delight.

But no. Apparently the butterfly that lands on our hedges and flowers and trees is in fact the 6th generation…..well, now that is to quote; ‘gob-smacking’. LOL I have learned much since arriving across thousands of miles across land and sea myself 😉 although I flew via SA Airways.

It seems that the first butterfly flies as far as it’s going to fly, it then lays it’s eggs and eventually dies, the next butterfly eventually emerges and sets off, the pattern is repeated and in due course (up to) the 6th generation is what we see here, and they are seen as far as northern Scotland, albeit the majority alight in England.

I was amazed. It’s one of those little snippets of information that is so incredible and previously so unknown that it sticks forever in your memory.

For more information about the Painted Lady (always reminds me of Geishas when I read that term) visit the Butterfly Conservation website

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