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Butterflies Fluttering By: Red Admirals "Irrupting'' All Over The Place

Hatchlings responsible for multitudes flying around

If you're seeing an inordinate amount of butterflies around today, you're right. There are, experts say.

They're Red Admiral butterflies, although they at first glance do look like their more well-known cousins, the Monarch butterfly. And if you're seeing multitudes, it's because it's a birthday party.

Todd Klein, a volunteer at the Cape May Bird Observatory, said this is around the time that Red Admirals are hatching. There is some migration taking place, too, Klein said.

"But what you're likely seeing are the hatchlings from last year,'' he said. "It has just gotten warm enough that the eggs are hatching.''

The observatory tracks the movement of Monarch butterflies over time. Klein said often the Red Admiral gets confused with the Monarch because the two are similarly colored.

The sudden influx of the butterflies is called an "irruption" -- a natural, cyclical population boom that causes an increase of butterflies every few years. And the unusually warm winter we had this year helped them to thrive, experts say. A boom of this size has not been seen in 12 years, according to butterfly watchers.

If you're overrun today like so many seem to be, don't forget to send in those pictures!

Linny May 05, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Its so beautiful... nature at its best!!! Lacey was loaded with them on Friday and it was truly a sight to see.. I just loved it..
Larry Cataldo May 05, 2012 at 02:54 PM
BEATIFUL HAPPY BIRTHDAY RED ADMIRAL!
Mattie May 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Love the video Lauren! :-)
Leener May 05, 2012 at 05:49 PM
This was a beautiful event. Thank you for posting.
Mary Mann May 07, 2012 at 02:02 AM
We are covered with butterflies in Maplewood! Glad to have them — and an explanation!

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