WHAT'S THE CAPER? The hoards of butterflies currently fluttering across our region are just out for a caper, apparently
WHAT'S THE CAPER? The hoards of butterflies currently fluttering across our region are just out for a caper, apparently Deane Lewis

It's a blizzard of beautiful butterflies, out for a caper

IF ALFRED Hitchcock could make a horror movie about birds, which he did, think what he could do with the hosts of gorgeous butterflies fluttering right across Gympie region at the moment.

Step outside and have a look and there is a fair chance you will see the at least a few of them and probably a lot.

Readers have reported "clouds of butterflies" almost everywhere you look.

Thousands of the beautiful winged insects have been seen in town, country, forest and farmland, flying overhead across the entire Gympie region in masses.

"What's the caper?" you might well ask. And you might be closer to the answer than you think.

Butterfly Volunteers spokesman Ray Archer said the influx was due to the migration of the Caper Whites (Belenois java) species.

"Way out west there are large number shrubs that grow called the Caper bush," he said.

"These butterflies lay in large numbers and then strip the shrubs to nothing means.

"Then the butterflies start heading east."

Mr Archer said he's really not quite sure where they're headed.

"These butterflies like to fly and keep on going," he said.

"I think within another two or three weeks they will be all gone."

A combination of good rain and warm conditions in the west has encouraged the butterflies to breed.

Residents in suburbs as far south as Brisbane and even beyond have reported sightings of the butterflies in "plague-like proportions".

The caper white butterfly is most commonly found in the west of Queensland and in New South Wales, on the dry side of the Great Dividing Range.

The butterfly is mostly white but has distinctive black edging around its wings and yellow and white blotches on the underside of its hind wing.

The native caper bushes it eats are closely related to the Mediterranean variety, the same ones you will sometimes find on a pizza or in some Italian cooking.

Commercial caper growers are not common in areas with reasonable rainfall, because it likes hot and dry conditions, so the butterfly grnerally escapes being considered a pest around here.

Gympie Times


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