Occasionally, south-east Queensland residents can be treated to large volumes of butterflies, which can be seen fluttering in and around the Brisbane streets, much to the delight of adults and children. Whilst large numbers of butterflies regularly be can be found in Brisbane during the Summer months, migrations of certain species are a rarer occurrence.
Species of butterflies, which can migrate in epic proportions through Brisbane, include:
Lemon Migrant (catopsilia Pomona)
As the name suggests, this common Brisbane butterfly is migratory and lemon in colour although it can be found in a variety of colours, ranging from light lime green to yellow, to creamy white. The Lemon Migrant butterfly usually migrates from south to north and is a strong, fast flyer, though they will stop to feed on nectar from a variety of plants. Population explosions occur periodically after big rain events and when this happens you can expect the skies of Brisbane to be filled with a flurry of yellow butterflies.
Blue Tiger (tirumala hamata)
The Blue Tiger is a pretty, tropical butterfly, which appears blue and black and can be found nearly all year round in North Queensland. It will migrate down to Brisbane during the Spring and Summer months and it is thought high rainfall and high temperatures can lead to an influx of this species. The Blue Tiger butterfly can also be seen flying non-directional or out to sea, which stumps even the most avid butterfly watcher.
Caper White (belenois java)
The Caper White butterfly is a predominantly white butterfly, which is quite common throughout much of Australia. This medium-sized butterfly, which has white wings with black borders, can occasionally be seen in large numbers in south-east Queensland, where they migrate, often after the first bout of stormy, hot weather. A migration event of this species is said to only occur every six to ten years, with one such event being reported back in 2016. Caper White butterflies migrate from west of the Great Dividing Range to lay their eggs in large numbers.
Butterflies Australia is a citizen science project aimed at viewing and recording butterflies. Their app can be downloaded for FREE (iOS and Android), and provides users with a digital field guide and a means of recording and reporting butterfly sightings throughout Australia.
For further information about Butterflies Australia and their app go to https://www.butterflies.org.au/external/home
Help with identifying Brisbane butterflies
Brisbane Insects is a website you can use to identify all sort of local insects including butterflies in and around Brisbane https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/
If you prefer to identify your butterflies using a book then you will want to get your hands on a copy of Wildlife of Greater Brisbane. They are sold through the Queensland Museum and major bookstores but they do sell out quickly as it is a very popular publication so if you see one, buy it while you can.
Brisbane Butterfly Houses
Further Activities for Children
Natural phenomenon’s, such as animal migrations, are a great opportunity to discuss animals, nature and the environment with your Brisbane Kids. You can use this as a chance to talk about how animals feed, breed and survive and how we can do our bit to look after them.
For the older children, perhaps you could encourage them to complete a mini-project on the migrating species or even get them involved in creating a butterfly garden. And for the younger kids, why not get them to do some butterfly art and craft. Butterfly mosaics, stained glass butterflies, butterfly mobiles and more can be constructed and displayed to brighten up your home or classroom.