HomeNewsButterfly population blossoms in Bundaberg

Butterfly population blossoms in Bundaberg

butterfly
Butterflies of all species have been fluttering through the region thanks to a breeding bonanza.

Humidity and recent rainfall have increased the local butterfly population, with thousands of the colourful critters fluttering through the region.

According to University of Queensland Entomologist Professor Myron Zalucki, recent rain had created the perfect environment, causing survival rates to skyrocket.

“Residents may have noticed lots of different species milling around,” he said.

“This includes the common eggfly with it's white and blue spot pattern, the little yellow eurema, blue tiger and the pale blue lycaenids.”

Professor Zalucki said unlike the annual migration of some of the different species, which saw thousands of the insects pass through the region at the same time each year, the current butterfly influx was due to a breeding boom.

“The Blue Tiger will usually fly in a fairly straight line, in the one direction to migrate and this usually happens around the same time each year,” he said.

“What the Bundaberg Region is currently experiencing is an influx of caterpillars having completed their transformation into adult butterflies.”

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A Tiger Blue butterfly at the Botanic Gardens. Photo: Paul Donaldson

Predators threat to butterfly population

Professor Zalucki said residents should enjoy the phenomenon while it lasts, with an influx of predators a real threat in taking out the colourful butterflies.

“The lifespan of a butterfly will vary depending on the species but most will live for a few weeks,” he said.

“The adult butterflies that you see now will start breeding but whether their caterpillars survive will be another story.

“A huge factor that determines this is the number of predators nearby.”

Professor Zalucki said a butterfly's enemy included spiders, ants and the parasitoid.

“This particular insect is what the creatures in the movie ‘Alien' were modelled from,” he said.

“They lay their eggs inside the caterpillar, with the offspring feeding from the inside.

“It's good news for the parasitoid but bad news for the butterfly population!”

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Common Eggfly butterflies are in abundance. Photo Morgan Everett

Butterfly research app available

Professor Zalucki said butterfly enthusiasts were welcome to join in on a citizen science project that aimed to get everybody looking at butterflies and recording their sightings.

“Butterflies are often described as birds of the insect world,” he said.

“To gain as much information on them as possible, our citizen scientists can chip in and provide photos and information to the Butterflies Australia website and app.

“This will help us to collate a large database for research purposes for years to come.”

If you're inspired by the booming Bundaberg Region butterfly population and want to find out more about the website click here.

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