Millions of ‘Painted Ladies’ Invade Israel

A man holds painted lady butterflies in northern Israel, as millions of painted lady butterflies are migrating through Israel on their way to Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, March 21, 2019. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90

Israel has been inundated in recent days by hundreds of millions of “invaders” – a species of butterflies that is undertaking a mass annual migration from the southern hemisphere to warmer climes, as the warmer weather of spring commences.

The Painted Lady butterflies are on their way from Africa to Europe, and have stopped over in Israel to “refuel.” The butterflies have been mostly concentrated on the coast, but were also prevalent in southern Israel and in Shomron. While in Israel, they are feeding on the pollen from budding flowers, which due to the warm weather over the past several days have been prevalent. According to scientists, the next stop for the butterflies will be heading for Cyprus, and from there to Europe.

The migration of the Painted Lady butterflies is considered one of the longest of any creature, but it is only in recent years that the extent of the migration has become clear, due to increased documentation by volunteers worldwide. The range of butterfly migration extends from as far north as Iceland to farther south than the Sahara Desert, scientists say.