Butterflies Migrating through Southern California


Butterflies migrating. Photo credits: San Antonio Credits

Grace Kim, Section Editor

Maybe you have seen them flying through your backyard or fluttering across the quad during break or lunch. This year swarms of butterflies have been spotted migrating through California including Yorba Linda High School. The public was fascinated by the breathtaking view of millions of butterflies flying across the sky. Mary Liu (12) was “surprised to see so many butterflies” in one area.


Although these black and orange butterflies resemble the common Monarch butterfly, they are entirely different. These beautiful insects are called the Painted Ladies. The Painted Lady is a cousin of the Monarch Butterfly and are found in multiple continents including Europe and Africa. They can be distinguished for their vibrant outer wing yet duller under wings.


The migration of the Painted Ladies towards northern California is nothing new. In fact, these butterflies have always migrated from either west Texas or northern Mexico to the Pacific Northwest. The only difference between this year and past decades is the sheer amount of butterflies migrating.


Southern California has endured an unusual amount of rainfall. According to Los Angeles Curbed, recent storms have put Los Angeles “on track to surpass its calendar year- rainfall average for the first time since 2010.” Due to California’s consistent rainfall, there has been an increase in wildflower population. As many may already know, butterflies are attracted to flowers for their nectar. With that in mind, the accumulation of both rainfall and wildflowers has generated the mesmerizing butterfly spectacle many saw this year.


Contrary to the migration of thousands of butterflies this spring, the butterfly population is rapidly decreasing. In a research conducted by CNN, butterfly counts dropped 86%. The cause of this unfortunate decline is mainly anthropogenic. Habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, are just some of the causes for the death of millions of butterflies.


Despite their small stature, butterflies play an important role in the environment and our lives. For one, butterflies are important pollinators for nearly all crops and fruits. From apples to peas, without butterflies, humans and animals won’t be able to indulge themselves in such delicacies. Not to mention, butterflies are a food source for predators like lizards and birds. Not only will the loss of butterflies affect the crops that require pollination, but it will also cause a chain of events in the ecosystem. Both lizard and bird population will decline which will kindle a decline in the population of their predators, and etc…


Thus, although there has been an unusual amount of butterflies migrating this year, we should always be mindful and careful about the decreasing population of butterflies