Bumper Time for Butterflies

THE dazzling bright blue flash of a ulysses butterfly is guaranteed to attract attention, but this month the popular butterfly may have some competition in the show-off stakes.

Beautiful: The Cairns birdwing is one of many species of butterflies that can be seen in the Far North.

The start of the wet season is the perfect time for butterfly spotting in the Far North, with entomologists predicting bumper numbers of butterflies around the Cairns region.

“The wet season brings new growth which encourages butterflies to lay their eggs – this is really the peak time for breeding with all the new shoots out there,” Trinity Park-based entomologist John Olive said.

“Of course people will notice ulysses, but they are sure to spot a huge number of others too – like the Cairns birdwing, red lacewing, orchard and cruiser butterflies, with smaller and just as beautiful butterflies also out in droves.

“Like the jezebel, a smaller, lesser-known butterfly which looks white when it is flying but is actually red and yellow.

“They are particularly beautiful – they just don’t get as much attention as the bigger ones.”

Mr Olive said the Cairns, Kuranda and Cassowary Coast areas were particularly good for butterfly spotting.

There are about 400 species of butterflies in Australia with about 50 per cent found in the Far North.

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