Billions of painted lady butterflies were spotted in Israel on Thursday during the holiday of Purim as the colorful insects make their way to Cyprus, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority reported. The butterflies pass through the country at the rate of 25,000 per hour, Channel 12 news reported.
Common to all continents except Antarctica and South America, painted lady butterflies now fill the sky above Israel from the Negev to the north of the country. The butterflies seen in the Middle East travel from Saudi Arabia to Greece, while the ones seen in North America travel from California to Mexico.
Unlike monarch butterflies, chemical signatures of painted lady wings reveal they make such immense trips within a single generation, National Geographic reported.
The migration has been noted since antiquity, yet humans have not been able to fully understand what triggers it and how it is performed. It had been observed that when painted lady butterflies are separated from the sun, they can no longer navigate.
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