It was like a white cloud


Written by Lizanne Esplin

January 29, 2020

It was time for the annual migration of the The Pioneer White butterfly

We have all seen the white butterflies flying through our Village. But where are they going? Where are they coming from?

Professor Marcus Byrne from the school of animal, plant and environmental sciences at Wits University’s said it is an annual migration and the white butterflies are called Belenois aurota which means beautiful gold dusting referring to the colour on their wings.

They migrate from the Kalahari area north east across the continent but where exactly they are going to is not clear or whether they do a return journey. On average, they live for about a month and these butterflies can travel quite far with the wind. With the massive decline in insect populations over the last few years we can rejoice in this natural event taking place during midsummer every year. 

They have a massive distribution spreading over most of Africa towards India and even as far as Sri Lanka. Depending on climatic conditions like rain and drought their numbers differ each year. The annual migration of the Brown-veined White Butterfly in South Africa takes place during midsummer every year.

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