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Swarms of butterflies fill sky with colour

FLUTTER BY: As butterflies take over Gladstone, Alexis Smith holds a specimen from 1993.
FLUTTER BY: As butterflies take over Gladstone, Alexis Smith holds a specimen from 1993. Paul Braven

FLUTTERS of colour filled Gladstone skies on Sunday as an annual - but still unexpected - swarm of seasonal butterflies flew in.

Spreading their wings in search of a place to lay their eggs, recent weather in Gladstone has played a big part in the butterflies' arrival.

At this time of the year it is not uncommon for so many butterflies to be up and around but it does vary from year to year.

Botanic Gardens curator Brent Braddick said the influx was normally in accordance with the wet season and, mixed with the humid heat, it made for perfect conditions for a caterpillar to survive.

"New vegetation is the key in sustaining the survival of a caterpillar, ensuring that it has enough food to grow and survive," he said.

"Here in Gladstone we do get a lot of native butterflies. The main one is the blue tiger which can be identified by its light blue colouring on the back of its wing.

"These types of butterflies are of medium size but we do get other species that are bigger. The other butterfly we get a lot of here is the non-native American-Canadian monarch which will feast on more exotic plant types."

And although these butterflies will make their way into your backyard they aren't expected to cause much damage to gardens.

This is because they generally prefer local native vegetation in the bushland, Mr Braddick explained.

"I think we would get the best range at the Botanic Gardens because of our location and the surrounding tree life," he said.

"We haven't had too much time ourselves to discover more about them. We just really enjoy seeing them."

If you are looking to head out for some butterfly spotting, the Botanic Gardens off Glenlyon Rd is a good place to start.

If you are interested in volunteering email Brent Braddick at tondoon@gladstonerc.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  butterflies gladstone insects tondoon botanic gardens



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