Painted lady butterfly migration mystery solved17/11/2009 09:26:17 Painted ladies do migrate south in autumn
November 2009. Scientists with the charity Butterfly Conservation believe they have solved one of nature's long-standing mysteries - thanks to the help of the public.
Scientists had been baffled as to whether Painted Ladies attempted to "tough it out" and died trying during our winters. Or was there a return southward migration to warmer climes, as is the case with Red Admiral butterflies? Part of the problem has been that, unlike these other migrants, there was very little evidence of Painted Ladies flying south in the autumn.
12,000 sightings reported
Painted ladies heading south over the Channel
Now reports have been received of butterflies arriving back in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation's surveys manager, said: "Several of these lucky observers saw more than one butterfly head out on its perilous voyage. This is exactly the evidence needed to lay this enduring mystery to rest. Painted Ladies do return southwards from Britain in the autumn enabling the species to continue its breeding cycle during the winter months".