Alvina Fullerton, a Chillicothe resident, witnessed something peculiar happening in her flower garden last week. She had an unusual abundance of butterflies fluttering around the flowers of the sedum plants at her home on Jackson Street.
Alvina Fullerton, a Chillicothe resident, witnessed something peculiar happening in her flower garden last week. She had an unusual abundance of butterflies fluttering around the flowers of the sedum plants at her home on Jackson Street. “It’s been going on for three days now,” she told the Constitution-Tribune on Thursday. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” According to multiple news reports and individuals who study butterflies, what Alvina and many others throughout the Midwest are witnessing is a rarity. It’s the largest migration of painted lady butterflies in more than 30 years. They have been spotted throughout Chillicothe during the last several days and even on blooms of sedum plants near the circle drive at Simpson Park during the busy Chautauqua event this past weekend. There doesn’t seem to be any particular reason, out of a large number of possibilities, for the over abundance. Several species of butterflies are in their current migration, and can be seen across Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Illinois, because these states are in the migratory path. The National Aquarium website calls butterfly migration “the ultimate relay race,” because of their generation migration. It takes several generations of butterflies to get through their migration, with some living only a few weeks to “run” their leg of the race, to the last generation born in September and October, that live upward of eight months, ensuring the species survival. According to David Laderoute, the northwest regional coordinator of Missourians for Monarchs, the painted lady migration coincides closely with the monarch migration that will pass in the next week to 10 days. “They are looking for nectar,” Laderoute told the Constitution-Tribune on Monday, “and don’t cause any harm [to the plants].” He also said that the painted lady migration will overlap the monarchs by a week or so. Unlike the 99 percent of monarch butterflies that migrate to Mexico City, the painted lady variation have no concentration area that they migrate to and can be seen as far south as Central America, Laderoute said.