Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Bouquets of Butterflies Springing From El Nino

April 26, 1998| Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Blamed for much destruction during the winter, El Nino now gets credit for some springtime beauty--a boom in Great Southern White butterflies.

El Nino brought the insects "a wonderful warm winter and abundant food," said Thomas Emmel, butterfly expert at the University of Florida in Gainesville. That has caused the species, which doesn't migrate every year, to "break out."

"They're moving along the Gulf Coast to Alabama and Mississippi, and along the East Coast as far north as Georgia, South Carolina and even Virginia," he said.

The coastal butterflies breed in salt marsh areas, said Emmel. They run out of their favorite plants--capers and pepper grass, both relatives of mustard--and so head north to look for food and places to lay their eggs.

The adults live a month to six weeks, he said, lay their eggs and die. The eggs hatch in a month and continue the journey. In the fall, succeeding generations migrate back south.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|