The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Eric Heinz

Swarms of painted lady butterflies have made their way through San Clemente, with a flood of them arriving Friday, March 15.

In the Pier Bowl, at Marblehead and Capistrano Beach–the butterflies are moving in large numbers into the north.

The annual migration has the butterflies migrating north where they can feast and find ample food without being boxed out by the rest of the herd. But this year’s seems to be particularly large.

“It’s just a large one moving out of the desert, and with how wet it was this winter, they’ve had more to lay their eggs on, and there’s been an explosion,” said Tom Merriman, a director at the nonprofit Butterfly Farms in Encinitas. “They’re moving to somewhere where’s there not as much competition. It’s just that there’s a huge amount. In 2005 there was a huge one and in 2006 there was a La Niña and El Niño, and last year there was hardly anything.”

The large migration in Southern California starts in northern Mexican deserts and travels thousands of miles. The Worldwide Painted Lady Migration project collects data and tracks the butterflies around the world.


Painted lady butterflies were seen in masses in San Clemente on March 15. Photo: Eric Heinz
Painted lady butterflies were seen in masses in San Clemente on March 15. Photo: Eric Heinz

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Capo Dispatch

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>