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California's wildflower super bloom attracts swarms of migrating butterflies
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Mar 14, 2019 5:17 AM 1+ week ago

This year's wildflower super bloom is not only filling California deserts with eye-popping displays of color -- it's also providing a feast for swarms of painted lady butterflies making their way north from Mexico.

"This is the biggest outbreak since 2005," said Art Shapiro, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who's been studying the migration of butterflies in the state since 1972.

Painted ladies tend to thrive when there's a super bloom, Shapiro said, because there are so many plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on and for caterpillars to eat.

In North America, painted ladies spend the winter around the US-Mexico border and fly north in the spring. Their descendants travel back south in the fall.

They are orange and black and are often mistaken for the more famous monarch butterflies. They're typically smaller than monarchs and have a different shape.

Shapiro said that last year's migration was the worst he'd seen in his career for both ...

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