In the middle of a butterfly crisis, California sees a burst of painted ladies

Perhaps you spotted them on La Cienega, flitting north by the thousands near the Westfield mall.

Maybe you saw them in Santa Anita, crossing a quiet residential street in a thick, fluttering line.

You may have even commuted with hundreds of them along the 105 Freeway, where they furiously flapped their small wings as if they were trying to catch a flight at Los Angeles International Airport.

Those black-and-orange insects that seem to be everywhere you look in Southern California aren’t monarchs and they aren’t moths. They are called painted ladies, and these butterflies are migrating by the millions across the state.

The migration itself is nothing new. Painted ladies set off from their wintering grounds in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of southeastern California as winter gives way to spring. They travel roughly the same path every year, flying northwest to Sacramento en route to Oregon, Washington and beyond. (They’ve been spotted as far north as Alaska.)

Read the entire article at the LA Times