Do yellow butterflies migrate? Some say they indicate the change of season

Published on September 05, 2018 with No Comments

We see them all around town, the dancing yellow butterfly floating through the air. Their official name is Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus) or cloudless sulphurs.  You can see them crossing the road, the bike trail, hiking in the woods. These delightful creatures are typically seen in early spring and fall. They’ve always indicated the next season is coming.

Local legend calls them the “changing of the season butterfly.” Is this true? Can we trust their arrival as a symbol of the coming season?

According to University of Florida IFAS, they migrate in early fall having laid eggs during the summertime. “The fall migration of cloudless sulphurs is the easiest to observe butterfly migration in the southeastern United States. On fine days in the fall, in the Southeast, any butterfly watcher driving an east-west road through open country will likely see these bright yellow butterflies crossing the road and can confirm that they are crossing much more frequently from north to south than from south to north. (Monarchs are migrating at the same time, but they generally fly too high to see and are heading for Mexico and hence may miss the Southeast.) During fall, the numbers of cloudless sulphurs crossing an east-west line bisecting the Florida peninsula at the latitude of Gainesville may approach the numbers of monarchs overwintering in clusters at highly localized sites in Mexico (Walker 1991, 2001).

To read the full article, click here.

Look for their dance as they are telling us cooler temps are just around the corner.

Posted in Arts and Culture, Blog

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